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Hero-of-Time

GameXplain in trouble?

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Given that a few people on here enjoy their content, I'm surprised nobody has created a topic for this yet.

It looks like GameXplain's days may be numbered. Reports came out yesterday evening from former staff about how they were being over worked and severely under paid. This came from some of the guys who left late last year, as well as from their wives. It kinda explains the exodus from the place.

The situation worsened when this news was being discussed on Reddit and then Andre (from GX) deleted the messages and closed the thread. Since then he has been removed as a mod and the thread reopened. 

It looks like the channel was making money but Andre was pocketing most of it for himself. It also seems like the channel was having trouble keeping up with producing meaningful content, with quick snippet videos being produced every time the tiniest bit of news arrived. I imagine Nintendo stopping Directs had a big impact on how they operate.

So far Andre has failed to comment on what's been going on behind the scenes and has also disappeared from Era, where he has been quite vocal about a lot of things.

Obviously it's best to hear the story from both sides but this isn't a good look for him or the channel. It will be interesting to see what effect it has on viewing numbers.

 

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Posted (edited)

Was just reading about this, and boy does this suck.

I normally dip in and out of watching GX content (their analysis videos are definitely the highlight of their channel for me), so was super confused when I went in to watch their 2020 in review and 2021 predictions videos, just to find that everyone I liked had upped and left. Andre always fell a bit flat for me with his lack of personal opinions, always seeming to land somewhere in the middle at his most critical, and generally with how he carried conversations with the others. It definitely gave me the increasing vibe over the last year or two that he was the boss, and they were his workers. 

Like you mention, there has been a ridiculously increase in their content output when it comes to getting the smallest of tidbits out quickly, and it always kind of irked me. Their analysis videos are quality content, and it felt like they were struggling in a weird way to make ends meet simply looking at their high volume of output, and I think this is no better illustrated than with their non-Nintendo coverage. I'm not saying that they can't cover non-Nintendo things, but their coverage of games which aren't related to Nintendo has only increased, despite (from what I've seen) them generally getting much lower viewer numbers on such videos. 

They clearly carved a good space out for themselves putting out quality content around Nintendo, and yet here they are slaving away over the smallest morsels of info on things not even related to them. It struck me as odd, and now I guess it's more apparent why that was. 

I remember Ash moved apartment I think a little while ago, and I remember being surprised at how many hints he dropped about struggling to pay some of his bills in a discussion video (can't remember if it was an Easy Allies guest appearance or just a normal GX discussion video). I thought that maybe he just had more expenses elsewhere which we weren't clued in on, so it sucks to learn how he and the others were apparently treated by Andre. They seemed like genuine friends, and yet Andre seemingly betrayed their trust and ran them into the ground. 

Case in point: their Good Vibes Gaming 2020 breakdown video. April was a busy month for games, and they dig into it at 50:49, and it really doesn't take long for them to shine a light on things. 

So, getting Final Fantasy VII Remake only a few days before release is on Square Enix to an extent, but being a content driven channel on YouTube means of course they had to have a review out for the game at launch. To hear someone just ran themselves into the ground to cover it over two days is insane. 

I don't know, the whole thing just sucks. I unsubscribed when I found out the others had left and couldn't find a good reason for them to leave in a similar time frame together, because it seemed off. They were quickly replaced with younger content creators, and I think Andre is rightly going to get a lot of heat for all of this. Even if they aren't being paid peanuts (reading that some of the guys were getting only $1 or $2 AN HOUR, but of course not sure how much truth there is to that yet), the absolute best case situation is that Andre worked some of his own friends into the ground for his own personal gain. The channel's transition to faster uploads, reactions, shorter videos, and covering things outside of their Nintendo remit all seem to point, to me, that this is going to turn out accurate in some way. I mean, it was inhuman just how quickly they would turn around some of those analysis videos. 

Good Vibes Gaming is definitely worth checking out if you liked the GX crew, and though it kind of blows Jon isn't there with the guys (then again, his work at Nintendo Life now is still great as always), they do a great job of regularly getting guests in for discussion. I still think they're finding their feet, but if they were to basically become a more focused GameXplain - a regular podcast style show like they have now with the news, maybe an analysis video here and there (but only for things they actually care about), and reactions to events - I think they should be able to grow a healthy audience while making good use of their GameXplain toolset, while not having to kill themselves for it. I know a few of them hinted at certain things they wanted to do at GX which would always peter out, so hopefully they can do some experimenting here too. It's awesome to see them on Twitter saying they're in better places mentally, spending more time with family, and just enjoying things a bit more now. 

Best of luck to them. I imagine it's only a matter of time before we see what might happen with GameXplain, but I hope it doesn't cause too much stress for those who have already left (and for those who recently joined). 

Edited by Julius
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It doesn't really bother me as I never liked the channel or Andre for that matter. He built a channel that was essentially made around spoiling games. That and they really sucked up to Nintendo. It just wasn't for me.

The situation is sad for those who did enjoy their content though but at least people can follow where the other guys have gone. By all accounts there's good banter over on GVG. 

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Posted (edited)

Love Andre and love Gamexplain, even the new guys are starting to grow on me. Hope this isn't true.

The old crew certainly didn't give the impression they disliked working for GX at the time, their discussions were always great fun and full of banter.

Edited by Ronnie

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Certainly found myself watching GameXplain videos on a less frequent basis, though I only ever watched some of the videos when Derek was doing them. I did get the impression that GameXplain might have been ending or something when I saw people like Jon and Derek leave the site... this sheds a whole new light on it though!

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Had a feeling that something like this was going down when those guys upped and left.

I’m not really surprised that this was the case.  The absolutely insane rate at which they were pumping videos out had to be coming with some huge sacrifices.

There was simply no need for them to start making multi-part videos for every scrap of news that came out.  That was just nuts.  They were far more successful when they just focused on analysing key trailers and major stories.

They ended up biting off far more than they could possibly chew.

Edited by Dcubed
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Yeah they've been going OTT lately but it must be tempting when you get an average 50K views for every daily news video, 50 quid for a 2 minute video.

They do great work though, so it's pretty sad, especially as Andre has always come across as a great considerate guy. Be interesting to hear what he has to say about all this. The new team seem good though, hopefully conditions for them are better.

Edited by Ronnie

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It seems Steve and Derrick have made statements in regards to this issue. Yeah, Andre isn't coming off as a great person here at all. Sounds like he's essentially exploited his workers and kept the gains for himself. Some of the details in the GX contracts are very iffy.

@Julius I gave GVG a listen yesterday. I needed something to pass the time whilst I was grinding on Yakuza and figured I would give them a go. I listened to parts 1 and 2 of their 2020 review. Not bad, although they all kept saying how they bounced off this and bounced off that. It got really annoying by the end of the podcasts. Just say you stopped playing the game and leave it at that! :D 

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57 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

It seems Steve and Derrick have made statements in regards to this issue. Yeah, Andre isn't coming off as a great person here at all. Sounds like he's essentially exploited his workers and kept the gains for himself. Some of the details in the GX contracts are very iffy.

Yeah, it looks very bad. For those who haven't seen Derrick's statement yet:

It seems like communication wasn't as transparent as it perhaps could have been, but at the same time, a non-compete clause in games media? That'd basically have been a death sentence for Derrick's career in the industry. Yikes. 

Quote

@Julius I gave GVG a listen yesterday. I needed something to pass the time whilst I was grinding on Yakuza and figured I would give them a go. I listened to parts 1 and 2 of their 2020 review. Not bad, although they all kept saying how they bounced off this and bounced off that. It got really annoying by the end of the podcasts. Just say you stopped playing the game and leave it at that!

Yeah, that's my biggest issue with a number of gaming podcasts having such a strong focus on news above all else. It's why I don't really listen to too much outside of Easy Allies these days, because the main podcast covers the news pretty well (though I think it doesn't flow as well without Kyle at the helm, and I think that bleeds over to their streams quite a bit too) and Frame Trap is absolutely top tier for deeper game impressions and discussions about the industry as a whole.

Well, all that and because I'm trying to make a conscious effort to either listen less to podcasts where I can, or be more selective in those I do listen to, so I can spend more time gaming myself or with my other interests :D

EDIT: forgot to mention, I think this whole thing is going to be a big lesson for those growing YouTube channels. Being a fan and pumping out videos to cover a certain brand does not make you manager material, and I think in retrospect Andre will be kicking himself for being naive enough to think that. I mean, chasing your boss to get paid is perhaps the biggest red flag out there. A one-off might happen, people make mistakes, but if it continues, it screams out how little they respect you and value your work. 

Edited by Julius
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In regards to your edit @Julius, I think part of the problem is a lot of people with YouTube channels are wanting to make a quick buck and instead of putting out meaningful content they sell their soul and start making click bait videos with stupid thumbnails. 

Its a weird one because on the one hand I don't blame people who are playing the algorithm game and churning out streams of content and top 10 videos left and right in order to get clicks. On the other hand I have for more respect and I'm more likely to watch something that isn't click bait but instead made with passion.

I always go back to something like My Life In Gaming as an example of this. Truly passionate gamers who don't seem to put out videos for clicks but instead because they just enjoy talking about gaming. These are the kind of people I give my time to.

I think Andre seems to have lost sight of what made GX so appealing to a lot of people and instead starting chasing the money. I think he can still salvage GX if he takes it back to what made them popular in the first place, as well as treating his staff with respect and paying them what they deserve, obviously.

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Andre's statement:

A non-apology if I've ever read one, yikes. 

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Yeah, it is a bit rough. 

Apparently the apology is doing the rounds on various Nintendo YouTuber channels/social media sites and not in a good way. Seems like he's digging a bit of a hole for himself and I doubt they'll be able to get guests on their shows after this as everyone seems to want to distance themselves from the site/channel.

It's a weird one because if he doesn't apologize then he'll be raked over the coals but if he did and admitted that he exploited the staff and pocketed the money, then that's not going to sit well with people either. Sounds like he's screwed either way.

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Basically, sorry I got caught.

That statement doesn't read well and won't be doing him any favours here.

Edited by Dcubed

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It's funny, because I decided to watch their anual new year expectations video.. I think in the first week. Days after it was posted, but before this thread showed up. I was wondering who the hell all those people were.. Two of them were kids! I'm not taking them seriously. Anyway, can't remember what the previous video was I watched, could very well be the previous new year expectations video. I don't watch that many Nintendo news videos in general. But this would explain why the familiar voices were gone. It seems we're left with the most annoying voice, but.. yeah I don't think GameXplain is going to continue for much longer. I don't have a stake in this, I don't care what happens, but I know how internet reacts to these things.

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14 minutes ago, Happenstance said:

Thanks for that. It's good to have all the info in a single article rather than spread across tweets as it makes it easier to read and make sense of things.

Horrendous conditions for the guys. I'm not surprised they were having mental breakdowns. Trying to balance a standard job, wife and kids and another job that's screwing you over...yeah, something had to give.

Edited by Hero-of-Time

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Just now, Hero-of-Time said:

Thanks for that. It's good to have all the info in a single article rather than spread across tweets as it makes it easier to read and make sense of things.

Horrendous conditions for the guys. I'm not surprised they were having mental breakdowns. Trying to balance a standard job, wife and kids and another job that's screwing you over...yeah, something had to give.

Yeah, of all of the things mentioned, it was reading that Steve would schedule lunch breaks to get a video up which really pushed me over on this. As if I needed to be pushed over on it anymore. It's despicable. 

And, well, it was bad before, but this article certainly sums everything up in a well articulated and cohesive way which firmly puts the spotlight on André. 

It's going to be really interesting to see how their contacts in the industry now react to this and treat GameXplain. Crunch, fair pay, and demanding bosses are always a hotbed for discussion (and rightly so); does Nintendo, or anyone else for that matter, really want to be associated with this further? Would you really want to give them early access for previews, reviews, etc.? 

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1 minute ago, Julius said:

 

It's going to be really interesting to see how their contacts in the industry now react to this and treat GameXplain. Crunch, fair pay, and demanding bosses are always a hotbed for discussion (and rightly so); does Nintendo, or anyone else for that matter, really want to be associated with this further? Would you really want to give them early access for previews, reviews, etc.? 

You know, I never even thought about the Nintendo side of things. Yeah, things could get really rough for GX if Nintendo decide to up and leave. It will show whether or not Nintendo actually cares about such practices. The things that have come out of this whole thing are awful and if Nintendo are quite happy to turn a blind eye in order to bring in the clicks......

On the other hand, they'll certainly have my respect if they choose to cut ties with GX and take their business elsewhere.  

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I liked the channel but I didn't really like Andre, his voice annoyed the crap out of me. I kinda stopped watching it a while back and never really realised they were in trouble as a business. Live or die, i dont really care.

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I listened to pretty much every Gamexplain discussion over the years, what's really weird is how jovial and full of life Steve, Derrick and the others were on them, and how they were constantly joking around with Andre. Would love to hear the story from Andre's pov.

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So what is the background of this Andre guy? Was he the creator of the channel and got thrown into a role he wasn’t ready for?

I feel like you see that a lot with Youtubers. The “influencer” boom seemed to throw a lot of people into situations they weren’t ready for, becoming public figures, leading what would basically become companies or as we saw a lot, basically the PR arm of game publishers without really grasping what they were doing or why they should have been disclosing things.

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18 minutes ago, Happenstance said:

So what is the background of this Andre guy? Was he the creator of the channel and got thrown into a role he wasn’t ready for?

I think that's the case.

However, I think there's a difference in not being ready for a role and flat out exploiting people. I mean, you can little experience in a job but that shouldn't stop you from being a decent person. Saying that, you often find people in managerial roles and CEOs are quite happy to dump on the actual workforce and reap the rewards for themselves. I guess in this sense Andre seemed very qualified. :D 

It reminds me of that quote by Abraham Lincoln.

Quote

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.

 

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1 hour ago, Hero-of-Time said:

I think that's the case.

However, I think there's a difference in not being ready for a role and flat out exploiting people. I mean, you can little experience in a job but that shouldn't stop you from being a decent person. Saying that, you often find people in managerial roles and CEOs are quite happy to dump on the actual workforce and reap the rewards for themselves. I guess in this sense Andre seemed very qualified. :D 

It reminds me of that quote by Abraham Lincoln.

 

Oh yeah I'm not trying to make excuses, just wondering how he got to this point. There are people that will have been thrown in before they have the correct knowledge and skills then there will be people like this who shouldn't be in that position regardless.

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Good to finally get the other side of the story. 

The oh so mature chunk of the gaming community (who’ve obviously never made a mistake in their lives) will continue to try and ruin his life regardless of course, but good to see him admitting fault, apologising and already taking steps to rectify things moving forward. From watching his content for a decade I know he’s a good guy and doesn’t deserve the usual online witch-hunt. 

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