Electronic Arts Also Paid YouTubers for Secret Advertising

Published 10 months ago by

Electronic Arts Microtransactions Future

Earlier this week several documents came out that suggested Microsoft paid YouTubers to make videos promoting the Xbox One. The news in and of itself was not troubling, but the fact that Microsoft required the video makers refrain from disparaging comments and not reveal their videos were paid promotion left us more than a little concerned.

Now, it appears the floodgates have opened, and more YouTubers are coming forward to reveal a dark side of the Let’s Play video making community. The latest report suggests Electronic Arts deployed a similar promotional campaign for their products — paying YouTubers to record positive videos — and also forced the video makers to keep the agreement secret.

According to a post on NeoGAF, EA’s campaign was centered on promoting some of their upcoming fall releases. In exchange for $10 per 1,000 views, YouTubers were asked to promote titles like Need For Speed: Rivals, Battlefield 4, and Madden NFL 25.

Again, while these particular promotions are commonplace in the Let’s Play and YouTube communities, what’s distressing is that video makers had to refrain from full transparency in order to gain payment. They couldn’t mention that they were being paid by EA for the video, or reveal the contents of the agreement (i.e. that they were told to avoid glitches). The campaign also featured a stipulation which prevented the YouTubers from highlighting any of the aforementioned games’ problems, including “major glitches” in Rivals or Battlefield 4. This is significant because, as we now know, Battlefield 4 featured a large quantity of glitches and server problems at launch.

Here’s the supposed assignment for Battlefield 4 content from Electronic Arts:

Electronic Arts Battlefield 4 YouTube Assignment

The one key difference between this campaign and Microsoft’s Xbox One campaign is that EA did not explicitly require the video makers avoid disparaging language about the games. That doesn’t mean it isn’t implied, but at least the agreement doesn’t outright mention anything in that regard.

We speculated earlier this week that the Let’s Play community would be a huge talking point for 2014 – especially after the recent copyright crackdown by YouTube – but we didn’t realize that would happen so soon. Clearly, there is big money to be gained from the community, both by video makers and by publishers. But where there is the potential for big money, there is the potential for underhanded deals.

What bothers you more: that companies are paying for positive videos or that the video makers are agreeing to these terms? Does it paint the Let’s Play community in a different light?

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Source NeoGAF

TAGS: Battlefield 4, Electronic Arts, Madden NFL 25, Need for Speed Rivals, PC, PS4, Xbox One, YouTube

13 Comments

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  1. Not surprised companies have been doing this. If anything I’m surprised it’s just now being brought to light. And ultimately, I’m the most disappointed in the Let’s Play communities that have been involved with these deals. It’s a particular reason I enjoy smaller establishments like Game Rant. A place I can trust. :)

    • I agree. Lets Play videos are a good way to get a feel for a game and if some of the channels are intentionally hiding flaws or being paid to be positive without viewers knowing it, it makes it hard to trust what you’re seeing and hearing in any video.

  2. Ah I’d say its widespread on YouTube, I couldn’t care less people should be wise to that anyway

    • so how do you know who to trust?

      • you cant trust anyone! especially on the internet! its best to look at everything with skepticism and decide for yourself whom you wanna trust

        • Haha yes i get that but I would like to avoid as much detective work as possible when trying to find a let’s play video for a game i’m interested in :D

  3. There will always biased opinions and favoritism it’s the way of the world. People should just take it with a ‘pinch of salt’ and not be naive

  4. Beyond humiliating. These guys are pouring gasoline on the whole venture. When people lose trust, they don’t spend money. When you pour eighty billion dollars into a game and then chase away your audience, what do you think happens in the long run?

  5. It’s millions not billions, anyway I get your point

  6. now I don’t feel so bad about Nintendo stopping the Let’s Play profits. They were probably all getting paid by companies that release crap like EA. It seems like Nintendo made an ethical decision now. Because without the money the lets play community earns, it might be honest.

  7. I hate “youtubers”. Video game youtube videos were really cool up until about 2010. When the first black ops came out, every 13 year old boy and their mom decided to become a “youtuber”, posting their s***** “let’s plays” and “funny fails montage”‘s. I honestly wouldn’t give a s*** if the entire gaming community on youtube fell off the face of the earth at this point.

  8. Thanks for your worthless opinion, gimp! :D

  9. So what if EA did this…. not a shock. I don’t care. I only look at magazines, Game Stop, and GameSpot for game reviews. You Tube is ok in certain situations like for tech. advice, demonstrations for how things work, and music videos otherwise I don’t like it for reviews of anything really. It is paid advertising what EA did. So what….. wow all these negative articles bashing the Xbox One and now EA. I love EA… always have and always will. From what I see not to many people give You Tube reviews much merit. Yeah they may look at the review for screen shots of the game and that is it…. many companies do this. O yeah lets let the Xbox One have about 3 updates then judge it…. that is just a side note. Don’t kill it right away like it wont get better… funny. EA rocks!!

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