EA pays YouTube producers to promote its games

Company says "User-generated videos are a valuable and unique aspect of how gamers share their experiences playing the games they love, and one that EA supports."

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Earlier this week it was revealed that Microsoft paid YouTube producers to create video content that promotes the Xbox One, and now it's confirmed that Electronic Arts is operating a similar program. An EA representative confirmed the program, called Ronku, to The Verge after documents detailing its guidelines leaked on noted game forum NeoGAF yesterday.

Under the terms of the program, YouTube producers were paid to publish video content for Battlefield 4 and Need for Speed: Rivals. Each "assignment" had specific objectives, like focusing on in-game activities including taking down an entire skyscraper in Battlefield 4 or crossing the finish line in Need for Speed: Rivals. For Battlefield 4, producers were told not to make videos featuring any glitches they might encounter during gameplay.

Participants in the program could earn $10 per thousand video views from a maximum of three videos. Other games featured in the program were FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, NHL 14, and Plants vs. Zombies 2, all of which granted payments of $10 per thousand views.

As The Verge points out, the issue here is not EA finding a new way to promote its games, but rather the way in which the company is reportedly going about it. The Federal Trade Commission mandates that endorsers "clearly and conspicuously" inform their audience that they are working on behalf of a company. However, the documents from NeoGAF suggest that producers of EA's Ronku program are barred from making such a disclosure.

"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," the document supposedly reads.

We have not been able to independently verify that this line from the agreement is in fact genuine, but the Ronku program itself is indeed real.

"Through EA's Ronku program, some fans are compensated for the YouTube videos they create and share about our games," an EA representative told The Verge. "The program requires that participants comply with FTC guidelines and identify when content is sponsored. User-generated videos are a valuable and unique aspect of how gamers share their experiences playing the games they love, and one that EA supports."

"We explicitly state in the Terms & Conditions of the program that each video must comply with the FTC's Guidelines concerning Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising," the representative added.

Microsoft and Machinima described their promotional partnership as nothing more than a standard agreement.

Discussion

471 comments
weactonimpulse
weactonimpulse

I don't get why people think this is bad. EA makes great games, this is in fair business practice, and reading the agreement it isn't shady at all. "You can show minor glitches, but please don't highlight major glitches in your commentary". This is perfectly fair. surely, if a game is too glitchy you can tell EA "Hey, man, look, i'm having a hard time getting footage without some distracting glitches. I'll have to turn you down on this offer. sorry. I look forward to doing business again in the near future." This is fine, and it will also help generate good content on the youtube sight.

stiffers
stiffers

$10 per 1000 views?? lolol

uninspiredcup
uninspiredcup

And yet the entire world still hates EA. Nice work.

cratecruncher
cratecruncher

What's missing in the article is that MS were only paying their shills $3/1000 views for promoting the xb1.  I guess MS shills are only worth 1/3 the value of EA shills.

Grimkillah
Grimkillah

Need for Speed: Rivals, Battlefield 4, FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, NHL 14, and Plants vs. Zombies 2.

Oh I see basically all the crap games. EA should instead promote good games like Mirror's Edge.

tightwad34
tightwad34

They admit it like it's not a big deal. If it's not illegal then they can do whatever they want, but to act like it's nothing is the problem for me. I guess the greedy just get greedier. And I also thought EA was trying to rectify their terrible reputation. Once bad, always bad.

UKFX
UKFX

They do this, so they can spread bullshittery about their games yet they don't give DICE the time or resources to develop the game before release. Ultimately BF4 is never going ot be fixed. £95 wasted lol.

Oh well. Don't be so quick to forgive and forget chaps... when BF5 rolls round don't open your wallet. They need to learn their lesson.

EA - The Anti-Gamer.

Tyler Dnap VanNeste
Tyler Dnap VanNeste

lol, that's funny considering ps4 does the same thing, oh wait now there gonna let you watch Tv on it, just like the fanboys of team sony trashed x1 for it, lol little children these days

daikkenaurora12
daikkenaurora12

"User-generated videos are a valuable and unique aspect of how gamers share their experiences playing the games they love, and one that EA supports ONLY IF YOUR NOT TALKING ABOUT HOW CRAPPY ARE GAMES HAVE BEEN LATELY." 

3dmatrixgamer
3dmatrixgamer

sounds like Battlefield will be an Xbox exclusive in the near future.

Aaron3691
Aaron3691

Maybe EA should put this money into perfecting a game and then let it speak for itself.

kalpesh_78
kalpesh_78

So now you can't trust online reviews. How do you judge if a game is good or bad? How do you know if its worth buying? With this news Piracy's gonna just rise (Unless these EAs and Microsofts give your money back if you don't like a game)

Martyr77
Martyr77

EA and Microsoft are doing underhanded and sneaky ways of trying to mislead customers. Enough is enough. Boycott EAs products.

Carl Toolan
Carl Toolan

A person's perspective is not the same as advertising. posting a live YouTube video talking lies because.your paid to do.so is unethical and the people involved have no integrity

TenraiSenshi
TenraiSenshi

Companies paying money to market their products.... NEVAH!

Evamorgana
Evamorgana

Urgh. Earn it don't buy it. Has Sony done anything like this? I hope not. I they're smart they won't go there. 

xeoneex66
xeoneex66

Fuck Micro$hits, and FUCK Evil Arseholes.

robbiejones
robbiejones

not really surprised, no one should be really...

bongsyas_23
bongsyas_23

this is why you always need to read the Terms and Conditions word for word

THizzle7XU
THizzle7XU

So they approached a few popular "Let's play" people, gave them advance copies of big games, and paid them money to do what they are already are doing and of course asked them to say good things about the games. Duh. You think they would tell them to trash their own game? The company isn't a gluten for punishment.


Like the Giant Bomb guys said, there just isn't enough going on in the video game world for a 24 hour news cycle, so you get a lot of bottom of the barrel scraping with news stories and faux "scandals". These people on YouTube aren't the press so they don't have some ethos to stay objective. And if you were some random person just playing video games and posting the recording to YouTube and one of the major game publishers came to you and said, "Hey. We'll give you an early copy of our next big game and pay you to play it as long as you don't say bad things about it.". Of course you are going to take the money! There is no moral barrier to break here. It's just people playing some video games. So all the conspiracy nuts that just want to crap on yet another game publisher or dev need to get a life or something. Shouldn't you have games to play?

Baconelite
Baconelite

Is it even possible to like EA? Doesn't seem like it lately.

smitherean
smitherean

Now apparently news: Nike pays athletes to promote its gear. Warner Bros. pays cable channels to promote its movies. Apple pays bloody everyone to promote its electronics.

darkrayne
darkrayne

Is EA trying to go down with the ship or something?

dxshah786
dxshah786

still less crime than Microsoft...

TheExxorcist
TheExxorcist

I heard it was more than just youtube... I heard MS also payed employees at GameStop to promote Xone over the PS4 (you know, the confused gamer comes in the store "Which one is better"?

"Oh, Defiantly go with Xbox" PS4 is Laggy, and slow! It will overheat too!!!!

Yeah, I could see that happening... seems logical now days.

DARKSPACE
DARKSPACE

EA as a whole has been on a downward spiral the last 2 years.. Hopefully this 2014 will cause them even more internal damage.  All their sneaky tactics of the past have finally caught up to them  It's up to the laws and consumers to have them sell parts of their company.


MS you are also a spineless company even though I own 3 generations of your Xbox branded hardware.  Either change your ways or you too should encounter and endure failure. The thing is many don't realize that the Xbox division is and always been a pet project for the Microsoft Corporation.  So failure would be accepted by them if they can't turn things around. Although MS will deny it publicly.

chaos-06
chaos-06

@kalpesh_78 EA does give you a refund for games bought on Origin if you don't like it. Not sure how refunds for physical copies for consoles works though.

TenraiSenshi
TenraiSenshi

@kalpesh_78Demos and free trials help to some degree, but ultimately, there's no real way to account for personal tastes when it comes to games. Even if a review is perfectly legit and scores a game well, there's no guarantee that you'll enjoy it yourself. 

yngsten
yngsten

@abhirajgoldy 

I can feel the eyes of "hipsterism" watching eagerly, delicately embraced by glasses only of the latest vintage fashion.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

@TenraiSenshiCompanies paying money to market their products in ways that don't let the consumer know that the companies are paying for the ad and representing it as an unbiased opinion formed without monetary rewards... NEVAH gonna fly with the FTC...

surrealme
surrealme

@THizzle7XUThere's nothing surprising here, and as I commented on the story the other day about Microsoft doing this, it people thought MS were the only ones they're naive. What's somewhat evil about it though is that the reason companies are doing this is because people have this belief that what they see on youtube is grass roots DIY opinion and is therefor somehow more honest and trustworthy than other sources. It's not. Politics works the same way. Supposed grass roots movements are more often than not bankrolled by corporate lobbyists and mainstream political parties (like the Tea Party in the US was largely bankrolled by the Koch brothers for their own profit motive). Amazon has a program where they reward people who post a lot of reviews by sending them free products as long as they write reviews about them to make products seem more popular than they actually are, yet few people know about it. Marketers will always look to subvert and manipulate social media in order to sell product. Welcome to capitalism.

xeoneex66
xeoneex66

@THizzle7XU Wait let me get this right, you are actually DEFENDING this shit hole company?  You sir are an idiot.

Baconelite
Baconelite

@smitherean  The problem is not the promotion itself. The problem is that you don't always know if it's a promotion on YouTube. It's not like they pause their videos for commercial breaks.

TenraiSenshi
TenraiSenshi

@---Cipher---@TenraiSenshiMy point is, a lot of companies do it. There aren't any real surprises here because it is in a company's interest to market their product in a positive light, regardless of whatever means they use to do so. It's the same as those adverts where you have what appears to be real people giving positive feedback on how a product changed their life, when in reality, most times it's just actors paid to give a false public perception.

You also have beauty or health magazines, billboards and posters where they use models that have been extensively retouched and enhanced to make people appear more perfect than they are in real life so that they can sell an image or product to try and get people to chase an impossible ideal. Sorry to say this but companies have been practicing the art of misleading the public for many, many years now. There's nothing new about it and EA, just like any other company, is just riding the same bandwagon.

kalpesh_78
kalpesh_78

@xeoneex66 @THizzle7XU  If youtube videos can be planned... so can people who would make comments like this. Maybe THizzle7XU was paid to say this shit.

THizzle7XU
THizzle7XU

@Baconelite @smitherean If you really take some "Let's play" video that much to heart, I think you need to re-analyze your priorities in life.

DARKSPACE
DARKSPACE

@homelessgamer@DARKSPACE How you figure? Just because I own something doesn't mean I have to praise it daily or during it's life cycle. Nor do I play deaf, blind or dumb.  Now if I completely dislike something I own or invest in, I usually separate and distance myself from it and take my loses.  It's actually very easy while maintaining a happy life.

TenraiSenshi
TenraiSenshi

@xtraflossy@TenraiSenshiWho said I was okay with it? I just conveying the fact that I'm not surprised, not that I permit it or agree with it.


People sure do like to jump to conclusions and read things that aren't there, don't they?

Baconelite
Baconelite

@THizzle7XU@Baconelite@smitherean Well, I would say that "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," does prove that they were trying to hide it. 

And yes, I am quite aware that life will go on, but that does not mean that I can't be displeased with this.

THizzle7XU
THizzle7XU

@Baconelite @THizzle7XU @smitherean Which is still not proven yet. That might be some BS that a forum troll tacked onto the other program rules. And again, it's some Let's play videos about video games. Not quite on the level of like rigging the presidential election. Life will go on...

DARKSPACE
DARKSPACE

@homelessgamer If that's your total then add PlayStation consoles 1 thru 4 including Vita (not psp) just to start.