Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Can I trust their opinions?

By Jamaal Ryan

As this topic rapidly develops, a NeoGAF post outlines that EA allegedly has too taken part in YouTube campaigning partnerships.

Statements released today by both Microsoft and Machinima ostensibly clarified the guidelines and stipulations of the promotion. Machinina claims that participating YouTube channels were bound by confidentiality of the details of the promotion, not taking part in the promotion itself. This implies that YouTuber X could run a video with a disclaimer stating, “I am taking part in a promotional deal with Microsoft under Machinima”, though I can imagine how much of a bad taste that’ll leave hearing that. Furthermore, as this campaign has come to light, both companies are now encouraging YouTubers to announce their involvement in the promotion; any actions otherwise would likely be in direct violation of the FTC guidelines highlighted in the earlier post.

With EA, we see parallels in their contract to what was seen in Machinima’s Microsoft promotion. YouTubers were to be awarded with $10 per 1,000 views (remember Microsoft participants were awarded $3), and the games to be covered included Need for Speed Rivals, Battlefield 4, FIFA 14, and Madden 25. In EA’s case however, the publisher has been said to disallow any mentioning of the promotional partnership:

You agree to keep confidential at all times all matters relating to this Agreement and any Assignment including, without limitation, the Details and Compensation listed above.
You understand that You may not post a copy of this Agreement or any Assignment or any terms thereof online or share them with any third party without EA's prior written consent. You agree that You have read the Nondisclosure Agreement (attached hereto and marked as Exhibit A) and You understand and agree to all of terms of the Nondisclosure Agreement, which are incorporated as part of this Agreement.

This is disruptive news compiling on the recent unveilings of Microsoft and Machinima’s deal. Though the alleged statements could, as we’ve assumed before, be in violation of FTC guidelines, this ultimately contributes to the rapidly developing mistrust of YouTube and potentially the games press at large.

Some may compare these dealings with television and radio who pump advertising partnerships into our faces, however that comparison dissolves here. Gaming YouTubers, whether they identify themselves as such or not, are critics. Unless they strictly provide content for walkthroughs, they are critics that you and I watch to get a consumer-ish based opinion and point of view on games before we decide to purchase them.

I will think twice before ever looking at a YouTube video on a game outside to guides from here on forth.

Sources: IGN, Kotaku, NeoGAF 

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