A prominent content creator on YouTube is currently embroiled in a minor scandal with giant publisher Electronic Arts.
YouTuber Gggmanlives recently posted his thoughts on Anthem, the latest game released by EA and developer BioWare. The video, which was fairly negative about the game, was later removed from YouTube, with Gggmanlives claiming that EA blacklisted him, forcing to delete the video in a now-deleted tweet.
Gggmanlives later posted the video again, with a removed disclaimer by the request of EA. He also stated in his re-tweet and in the video that "I had to re-edit my original review for Anthem, because it was deemed too negative. And I guess on top of that, I’ve been added to the long list of blacklisted YouTubers.”
EA, however, has responded swiftly to the claims, stating that the issue was one regarding the misuse of their partnership program. Gggmanlives is a known member of the Game Changers Program, a community partnership program between EA and prominent content creators that would allow players to gain early access to gameplay while providing collaborative feedback through their content.
The problem, however, was an issue regarding compensation over Gggmanlives by EA. To put it simply, EA runs two different programs for content creators. The Game Changers program specifically is an unpaid program that only covers expenses to EA sponsored events. The second program is its paid sponsorship program for creators.
EA makes clear on the Game Changers website what they mean by disclosure.
"EA requires full disclosure and transparency with every Game Changer content activation or paid sponsorship that we are involved with. This is mandatory for every country, language, or influencer that we work with. We do not partner with influencers, agencies, or talent who do not support proper disclosure."
The website goes on to point out that members in the Game Changers program have full control over content, and that the publisher "does not approve Game Changer content, opinions, or creative choices."
For paid sponsorships, the website directly notes that EA "commission specific campaign assets, cinematics, and even tutorial videos that EA directly approves, which must always display the Sponsored by EA watermark, including both the audible and written description."
Both programs also provide watermarks to content creators for their specific videos. They also note that outside of the watermark, a content creator can disclose they are a part of the program through written or audio confirmation.
An EA spokesperson later confirmed to GameDaily Biz that they specifically requested that the "Presented by Game Changers" watermark on the original video by Gggmanlives be replaced. The reason for the request; Gggmanlives received compensation for the video, so the watermark was incorrectly used.
Gggmanlives confirmed to GameDaily Biz that he did receive compensation for his video, but continued to claim it was under the Game Changers program. However, this claim contradicts EAs own disclosure agreement for the program, as all as the Game Changers FAQ page, which directly notes that negative feedback is not reasons for blacklisting a content creator and that paid compensation is not given by EA outside of stipends for events.
Gggmanlives was also pressed by GameDaily Biz regarding the 'blacklisting' comment, stating "I assume that relationship is severed now."
Lee Williams, the international manager of community engagement, noted on twitter that GGGmanlives was not blacklisted at all by the company.
Williams goes on to say in his tweets that EA is not purposely keeping people in the dark, but stresses that the company "press[es] our disclosure rules so hard because it's important the creators we work with are transparent with the community."
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