YouTuber Gggmanlives says Electronic Arts paid him to review “Anthem” and subsequently “blacklisted” him for the negative review, which the company denied in a statement to Variety on Friday.
EA denies that the takedown request was due to the negative review, but says it was instead in response to the video not meeting its disclosure guidelines. EA also clarified that it sent Gggmanlives a request to fix the conditions for disclosure to be corrected, and was not asking him to change the content of the review nor did they “blacklist” him. EA sent the following statement to Variety:
“Our GameChangers program is not designed to pay for review content. We don’t believe in that. In this case, the conditions for disclosure for this specific video were not met – which is something we adhere very strictly to – so we asked for it to be taken down and corrected. We’ve not asked for the content of the video to be changed, or ‘blacklisted’ the creator. Our full disclosure rules can be found here: https://www.ea.com/game-changers/disclosure.”
EA has not responded to Variety’s followup questions as of publication time regarding what about the disclosure in the video was not in line with requirements and whether or not any other reviewers received similar requests.
Gggmanlives is a part of Electronic Arts’ (EA) Game Changer Network, which is a community partnership program that “fuses content creators and expert players directly into the game development process enabling early collaborative feedback for improvements,” according to EA. Basically, EA offers access to games for select content creators and players/influencers. Gggmanlives told VG247 that the company went a step further and actually paid him to create an “Anthem” video review.
After his negative review of “Anthem” was posted, Gggmanlives said he was told to take down the video, and to re-upload without EA’s watermarks.
“I’m blacklisted by EA now and had to delete it,” he wrote in a tweet Friday. He then re-uploaded an altered version of the review without watermarks. The review was still not a positive take on the latest title from EA.
“I basically wasn’t allowed to say anything negative about the game if I also had the watermark in because the watermark means EA endorses it and shares it through the Game Changers network or something,” Gggmanlives told VG247 via Twitter direct message. “I really don’t know what it all means. I was just told it was to be pulled down and was basically a breach of contract or something along those lines.”
Gggmanlives was also tweeting out code giveaway details for “Anthem” on Friday, another perk that could be a part of the Game Changers Network (though he only thanked the EA Australia Twitter account).
Lee Williams, who oversees the Game Changer Network in his role as international manager of community engagement with Electronic Arts, commented via Twitter on the matter. He first clarified that Gggmanlives was not “blacklisted” as he said, and that the video takedown request was not related to the content.
“Nobody has been blacklisted by [EA],” Williams wrote. “Our team in Australia asked the video be taken down because some of our conditions on disclosure on sponsored weren’t met. Nothing to do with the content of the video.”
Williams continued in a follow-up tweet.
“We encourage the Game Changers to be honest in their content, it’s one of the most important parts of the programme and the community trusts them because of that honesty,” Williams wrote in a tweet. “Feel free to ask me or any of the game changers about how it works.”
He then shared a link with more information on Game Changers via the EA website.