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YouTubers respond to EA’s paid content incentives, “no opinions are bought”

Wednesday, 29th January 2014 12:51 GMT By Dave Cook

YouTube, EA, Microsoft and other parties came under fire in the games press this month over terms that surfaced regarding paid video incentives. It was believed that EA and Microsoft were poised to pay content creators to say positive things about their games, sparking claims of bias. Some personalities have stepped forward to clarify the issue.

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We recently reported that all of Microsoft’s paid-for videos would be clearly labelled as advertising. Hit the link to see what was said.

The leaked incentive terms appeared to guarantee a higher pay-per-view rate if a creator’s videos leave out things like glitches and other negative features. Eager to give their side of the story, some YouTubers have given their own account of the matter, starting with Battlefield personality LevelCapGaming.

In a Reddit post he wrote, “I’m writing this response because someone needs to say something on the YouTubers’ behalf about what happened is happening with the situation regarding YouTubers getting paid to make videos of Battlefield and other games. This is not an apology.”

“Most of the recent articles I have read regarding this subject talks about EA buying positive reviews and asking us to lie to our fan base about the state of Battlefield 4. Nothing could be further from the truth, and unfortunately these articles have been written to grab attention, so have dishonestly portrayed this situation as a scandal.

“Having been a part of several EA Ronku campaigns, I can tell you that at no point was I asked to lie or falsify my opinion of a game. EA is aware that asking people to do this is wrong and if you actually read the assignment documents that were leaked, EA never asks us to misinform people by only saying positive things about the game. I would love to disclose the actual campaigns to the public so you could see just how tame the requests were but I don’t have the authority to do so.”

Keen to make clear why he didn’t disclose his deal with EA, he added, “Everything that I say in my Battlefield videos is genuine; no opinions are bought, and thus I didn’t feel the need to disclose that I was getting paid by EA to say what I want.”

“I don’t feel like I’ve cheated anyone or falsely influenced anyone into purchasing Battlefield or any other game,” he concluded. “And while I cannot speak for all my fellow YouTubers, I know that those with whom I work on a regular basis feel the same way.”

YouTuber Jackfrags has also posted his own video response to the issue, which you can see here:

What do you make of these alleged paid incentives? Let us know below.

Via MP1st.

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8 Comments

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  1. zme-ul

    but of course they’ll deny their “alleged” bias

    #1 6 months ago
  2. mistermogul

    Basically you can’t believe anything you read or hear on the Internet…

    [sorry Dave! ;) ]

    #2 6 months ago
  3. KineticCalvaria

    People were stupid to be concerned over this anyway, I’ve subbed to JackFrags for ages and I know he isn’t a sell out. Gotta start having some faith in humanity people!

    #3 6 months ago
  4. Daniel_N7

    The YouTubers in question are right. This controversy is a load of BS.
    As much as I don’t want to defend MS and EA, there is a difference in paying for positive feedback and paying to promote playthroughs of their games. This was not a campaign to “buy positive feedback”. If you didn’t wish to fulfill the terms of this campaign (ie: you had a negative view to extol instead), all you had to do was not tag the video and not attempt to claim the CPM bonus for it. At no point was your video censured or negatively affected for not giving a positive or neutral view on the product.
    The point of this campaign was to generate buzz – and plenty of Let’s Play videos, neutral reporting and, shock horror, actually genuinely positive videos for the products in question would have been able to utilize a bonus on their advertising payout for the video – a feature that Machinima actually uses for their affiliates very frequently, for all kinds of campaigns.
    If anyone actually published a video with a contradictory opinion to their own for the sake of a tiny CPM boost (the equivalent, while being generous, of a few dollars at best) – that’s on them.
    Now, I agree that youtubers who want to establish themselves as valid opinion makers should stay away from these campaigns or disclose when they take part of them. But this controversy, fueled by several mainstream gaming websites, has been a cheap shot to put independent youtubers in a negative light as non-credible sources of information, because all of these supposedly “shady practices” that are apparently going on.
    So you get this manipulative dichotomy: the untrustworthy, unchecked youtubers, versus the sacrosanct game journalists, checked by ethically driven editorial guidelines.
    Sorry to say, this is BS and we all know it. These pressures exist in all media, and have existed for a long time. So what? Game journalists aren’t directly paid from corporate PR, but those friendships exist and will give journalists an edge. Are we all virgins here? Get friendly with the right people and you’ll have privileged access to exclusive content, get invites for important venues, doors open for interviews. Is it illegal? No. Is it ethical? Depends. Is it going on in official gaming news websites, or in all other forms of press? Yes. Why isn’t that in the news?
    Why are we targeting teenage letsplayers that got a few extra cents per view when journalists don’t disclose their interests either? Have we forgot the sad spectacle of witnessing professional gaming journalists promoting a game for the chance of winning a console? Are journalists disclosing every time they get paid travels or free games and merchandise? And which of these do you find more relevant? The 15yr teen that made a few extra bucks playing Battlefield?
    Bottom line: these pressures, that have always surrounded journalism, are now in motion towards independent media sources like YouTube. It’s up to the viewer to judge and choose who it is they find more believable and ethical and serious. As it’s always been.

    #4 6 months ago
  5. zme-ul

    @3
    like we don’t already have milenia of human history teaching us humans are selfish lying pricks

    #5 6 months ago
  6. Cobra951

    @Daniel_N7 (#4)

    “These pressures exist in all media, and have existed for a long time. So what?”

    In a nutshell, that’s it exactly. Maybe that’s why the whole thing never surprised me. Money flows from the big game corporations to the game journalists in one way or another. It has been this way for as long as I can remember. There is an ethical question here, to be sure. But it would be unfair to apply it only to the little youtubers. If it’s going to be asked, it needs to be asked of the entire spectrum of gaming journalism.

    #6 6 months ago
  7. hives

    I think the most outraged by this are people who are not watching these youtubers anyways. So who cares?

    I’m subscribing guys I enjoy watching. I know which of them have similar taste in games as I do, I know who I can trust, I know who I just watch for pure fun. I – and I guess many other – am not stupid, silly sheep.

    #7 6 months ago
  8. OneLifeCycle

    I haven’t seen the videos… I should go look I guess… But are they up front in saying that they’re being paid for their perspective on this video about game x, y or z?

    #8 6 months ago