Game publisher under fire for “disgusting” take on paying YouTubers to play their new release

Eleni Thomas
Spirittea header

The indie game publisher behind the new release Spirittea has come under fire on social media in light of comments the director made in regards to the idea of paying influencers to play through their new title.

As well as being beneficial for consumers, Microsoft’s Game Pass subscription program has also helped many smaller Indie titles find massive success of late.

The latest to reap the benefits of Game Pass is Spirittea. Developed by Canadian company Cheesemaster Games, Spirittea takes inspiration from the likes of Stardew Valley.

In the official synopsis of the game, the devs describe it as “both a life sim, and management game, all in one. Players live day to day, finding local NPCs and spirits to help, and taking part in tons of different hobbies, ranging from bug catching to karaoke.”

However, while all may seem like sunshine and rainbows in the game, things have taken a turn on the business side in light of some recent dev team comments.

Mike Ross, the company director for the game’s publisher No More Robots, took to Twitter on November 22 to share some details behind the launch of the new title.

“Over 100,000 people have played the game on Game Pass in the last week and we’ve heard plenty of people say they bought the game on Steam or Switch after playing the Game Pass version. So once again, a ridiculously good experience for us,” he began.

However, Ross’ Twitter thread began to receive major backlash online when the director then revealed his stance on influencer support.

“Now look, I get it — that’s just how this works now. YouTubers want you to pay them to cover your games. But I just don’t want to do that. It feels weird and icky and disingenuous, and I just can’t do it. So I guess our games won’t get covered on YouTube anymore!”

Noting that “the fact that we still managed a $1m launch without any influencer support makes me think what could we have achieved if I did pay some people.

“So maybe I’ll be forced to it in the future. But God, I just really don’t want to. It’s so f**king eugh.”

These comments have been received poorly by dozens of content creators online as well as various fans of the game who have already been playing through Spirittea.

One streamer commenting: “As one of the creators who covered Spirittea for free, it’s really disappointing to have spent over 30 hours (around my full-time job) making a YouTube video about Spirittea that got over 12k views and a TikTok with over 180k views to then see this tweet saying you got no support.”

Another Twitter user wrote, “I originally heard about this game through an influencer doing free exposure for you on TikTok, I love the concept, and was actually thinking about streaming it. But yeah that’s not happening anymore. Wouldn’t want to be “eugh.”

As well as this, others blasted the company director’s comments further, calling his post a “disgusting take.”

“This is such a horrible, disgusting take. People should be compensated for their time, regardless if they’re a large creator or not. People are recognizing their value and don’t want to produce content for others for free anymore and I fail to see how that’s an issue. Your lack of replies to anyone with the same belief is pretty telling. What a phenomenal way to shoot yourself in the foot and prevent others from playing your game.”

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About The Author

Eleni is a Melbourne-based journalist. Having completed her Bachelor's in communication (Journalism) at RMIT University, Eleni is now a Senior Writer for the Dexerto Australia team. A big Nintendo fan (with a Triforce tattoo to prove it) and a lover of the zombie genre, Eleni covers gaming, entertainment as well as TV and movies for the site. She is also passionate about covering Queer and female representation. Contact Eleni at