The problem of crunches in the gaming industry is widely covered in the media, but rarely it comes to processing among journalists. Former employees of the popular YouTube channel GameXplain accused the management of the lack of compensation for the sleepless nights they spent trying to have time to release a review by the deadline.
The problem was first noticed on January 2, when the Today’s News Tonight podcast was released, the authors of which are former employees of GameXplain. In it, Steve Bowling recalled his unpleasant experience working on the Final Fantasy 7 Remake review.
“I don’t think I’ve ever suffered more when working on a video. It was a nightmare and the worst experience of creating a review in 2020,” the journalist said.
The fact is that Square Enix provided a review copy of the game just two days before the lifting of the embargo. The passage of only the main plot of the Final Fanstasy 7 Remake took at least 34 hours, while Bowling had to have time to write and edit the review.
He didn’t have time to sleep in principle, and he calls the final text his worst work. A colleague helped Steve to correct the script, and he was able to release the video by the deadline. However, he was soon blocked for two days at the request of Square Enix, thereby devaluing the journalist’s work.
“I burst into tears right at the table. I literally cried because I put so much energy into this review and destroyed myself for it, and it turned out that I could have had two extra days,“ Bowling said in a conversation with VICE.
The very review of Final Fantasy 7 Remake
His colleague Ash Paulsen admitted that his wife left GameXplain for the same reasons. Steve’s wife also insisted that he leave the YouTube channel at the first opportunity, because the salary of $ 500 a month was clearly not worth all the nerves. She also stated that Bowling was sometimes paid only $1-2 per hour.
In the VICE article, former GameXplain employees confirmed the Bowling experience and accused the head of the channel, Andre Segers, of having a bad attitude towards the authors. According to them, he does not pay on time, does not pay extra for processing and requires employees to be constantly in touch.
The race for infopods, high competition and tight deadlines on the part of publishers is a problem faced by many gaming media and YouTube channels. “Content has always been in the first place — not us, not our well—being and not our payment,” Paulsen notes.
Soon, Segers himself responded to the accusations, while closing the opportunity to comment on his post on Twitter. “I hate the fact that they faced unfair compensation and impossible deadlines — often due to compliance with strict and beyond our control embargoes,” he said.
Segers said he was open to dialogue and acknowledged the crunch problem. He stated that such processing should not have happened because of the embargo, and he himself often delayed payments. At the same time, Andre called the accusations that he pays employees only $ 1-2 per hour unfounded.
After the scandal, GameXplain management took steps to change its policy. One of the new employees told VICE how he did not have time to finish the review of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on time. He was allowed to ignore the embargo and take extra time so as not to burn out.