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.

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Avatar image for TheExxorcist
TheExxorcist

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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.

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DARKSPACE

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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.

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homelessgamer

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Well that's hypocrisy at its finest.

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DARKSPACE

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> 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.

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DARKSPACE

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<< LINK REMOVED >> If that's your total then add PlayStation consoles 1 thru 4 including Vita (not psp) just to start.

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homelessgamer

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> After 3 consoles in a row? that's like 5 grand in games and hardware.

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DrKill09

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Yes, because the payola scandals worked out so well for Alan Freed.


This shit didn't work then, why try it now?


And Microsoft are doing the same thing with MaShitNima.

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Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

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I suppose that some gaming journalists are not aware that though the FTC has released publicly viewable guidelines, the FTC itself has mentioned that << LINK REMOVED >>:

"The Guides are administrative interpretations of the law intended to help advertisers comply with the Federal Trade Commission Act; they are not binding law themselves."

There is a legal loophole here. Until the FTC and the USA courts plug this loophole, such deal-making hanky-panky that Electronic Arts and Microsoft Xbox do will continue.

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homelessgamer

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Isnt there an androgynous jrpg you should be playing right now?

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Gelugon_baat

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The secrecy policy hurts the fans of Electronic Arts' games more than Electronic Arts would think.

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Mr_Enlightened

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Im convinced you are a girl

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Gelugon_baat

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<< LINK REMOVED >>

I am convinced that you are creepy.

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MN121MN

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Hmm... so that's why there's quite a number of overly-"trying" to make the game look good videos on Youtube...

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Sohereiam

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The thing of advertising is legal, keeping the contract secret is also legal, it happens all the time in all of the entertainment industry, Whoever, what M$ did was demand that the consumer didn't find out that what they said in their videos is an advertising, so that the consumer believed that it was their own personal opinion, this single line made whole contract illegal.

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_Silent_Jay_

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<< LINK REMOVED >> According to the guy who leaked the whole thing, it wasn't MS, it was Machinima. The contract was from Machinima for members of their network on behalf of MS. Machinima's known for monumental screw-ups regarding its network like this, and will likely get nailed by MS for dragging them into it.

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hikaruai

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>and u believe that?

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Banefire76

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To everyone defending this as "advertising" and "what's the problem, this is normal"


You do realize you have a problem, and your thinking this is ok IS the problem.


Right?

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BelaidKL

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When Microsoft were discovered doing this I was disappointed.. When EA are discovered to be doing this I'm annoyed... Can't trust many companies in terms of advertising anymore.. It's put me off a lot of Youtubers too.. Hope all culprits are discovered and gaming shifts back to its normal state

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Banefire76

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You know what really pisses me off?


Here, once again EA shows their true colours. Is doing something dishonest and unethical and trying to cover up the facts and hope to find weak willed youtubers who like them are willing to leave their ethics out the door in order to make a buck.

And what do gamers do?

THEY STILL BUY THEIR F'ING GAMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gamers grow a pair and refuse to keep these parasites in our industry. They can ONLY stay as long as WE give them money via Game purchases, microtransactions, DLC and any other means of handing them money.

C'MON! guys even now this does not change your minds?!

EA has to go!

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mr_nee

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<< LINK REMOVED >> I actually am planning to get a BF4 for PC and get into FPS games. I have BF3... never even installed it :S

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Gelugon_baat

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<< LINK REMOVED >>

Now, Electronic Arts is indeed on my blacklist, but maybe you ought to realize that some people are not too perturbed at Electronic Arts to let go of their fancy for certain IPs that Electronic Arts has.

Especially Battlefield.

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Banefire76

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>IP's get sold, how the hell did EA get those IP's? They bought them. So when EA goes down, their IP's will be free to be purchased by other publishers and frankly, let's face it look at the track record of EA and the bugginess/watered down effect on the IP's they have.


Time to let others start looking after those IP's properly.

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ANGRYWOLF

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Makes me wonder if EA will ask the Dragon Age fans who have youtube channels to promote Dragon Age Inquisition for Bioware....

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S001_PRIMAL

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sorta makes the survey/poll about how bf4 was seem pretty pointless

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TacticaI

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Oh, so like all those bullshit quotes at the end of the movie trailers with the really tiny, tiny text attempting to hide how insignificant some person's opinion is. I guess my indifference comes from not being an avid viewer of YouTube videos about anything outside of music or comic relief.

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Mr_Big_Boss

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I want the channel names of every youtube personality that has been paid by either EA or M$. We need to unsubscribe and thumbs down every video they make.

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thekazumalord

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EA and Microsoft both doing evil, illegal things? no..... really? never would have thought that.. i say with such heavy sarcasm that if it were any thicker it would be like the polluted air of China right now...

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RobDev

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Evil, really? grow the **** up. When they kill someone come back to me.

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thekazumalord

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> i don't usually respond to children or those with the mental capacity of a child but in this i will by saying EA is evil and so is Microsoft.. just because your a fanboy doesn't mean you need to shout that fact.

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RobDev

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> so either company is more "evil" than the drug company that used african villages as illegal drug trial guinea pigs where several died? Or the banks that foreclosed on peoples homes when they miss one payment, or the health insurance companies that refuse to treat people even though they have paid for cover. EA - evil? Fucking first world problems. you have no idea.

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frylock1987

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>

I would say EA is evil....especially if they were at one pointed named the worse company, right next to Walmart.

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RobDev

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I'm not a fan of either. Just a fan of people using words properly. Yet somehow i'm the child. also it's "you're" and again, i'm the child? Really?

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UKFX

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The PC version of BF4 is still a mess. It's still unstable for Windows 7 and Windows 8 (depending on hardware), packet loss is still happens for a large majority of players and any of the pathes that come out, don't actually do anything.

Let us not forget the mass fraud, which would actually put many folk in jail. They bullshit about the state of the game to the media, they ran a BF4 event with an earlier stable build of the game and pushed out a stable build "beta", all the while the horribly performance unstable mess version of BF4 sat on discs in many shops and warehouses, awaiting the official release date. All of that, hidden by EA and DICE so Andrew Wilson and a few cronies at the top of EA could get a massive share profits. Yet we have a product that doesn't work for the majority of players? (at least not how it was intended).

Hmm, I can't play the game because of packet loss... the packet loss specific to BF4 and something that I do not get on anything else on my network. I've tried Windows 7 and 8, an I can confirm performance (at least for me) is worse on Windows 7 and is less stable (I actually got a few crashes on Windows 7, which were otherwise fixed for me on Windows 8).

Note: Don't buy Windows 8, it won't guarantee a performance boost and any boosts in performance are quite limited and on top that, I wouldn't recommend Windows 8 even if it was free, plus Windows 8.1 introduced some new bugs... bugs that Microsoft will ignore (Superfetch).

RIP BF4. It won't be fixed in 5-6 months time and by then, the game will probably have about 10,000 players at peak so those with Premium will have less to play with lol. Already a dwindling number of servers running China Rising.




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blackothh

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"For Battlefield 4, producers were told not to make videos featuring any glitches they might encounter during gameplay."

This is why i hate advertising, it does not reflect reality

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Khasym

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<< LINK REMOVED >>Well, in this case, it's not advertising, it's FALSE advertising, hiding as a review or a Let's Play.

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ViDiS

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No big surprise there. In fact, big players in the YouTube gaming related video scene (one particularly cynical brit comes to mind) have been harping on about wanting to be treated as legitimate sources of publicity for a while now. This was usually in response to elevations in copyright enforcement though.
So there it is, companies are apparently listening and approaching the opportunity in the best and only way they know how - by throwing money at it under the table. Just par for the course of any type of media form rising to a certain level of popularity.
My guess though is that having money involved will also lead to more copyright policing and thus less freedom of opinion throughout the medium. The big players are apparently starting to take YouTubers seriously, which in turn brings in more of the dirty play the video games industry (or any and all industry really) is known for.
Considering how grey an area use of copyrighted material on YouTube currently is, I'd say this bodes ill for the impartiality of information available on that budding medium we all know and some of us love.

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Khasym

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Day late and millions of dollars short. Ever since Youtube's Content ID system started bottlenecking reviews by my favorite sites, I just stopped using Youtube to watch them. Once again, Corporate's going to try and crush something they didn't have a hand in from the start, and just make things worse. :-) I remember when the MPAA decried Napster as the end of all music. And now that it's been completely crushed, destroyed and it's ashes scattered to the winds, you can easily type in the name of a song into Yahoo, Google, or Bing, and get any number of links to download it for free.

As for impartiality, that isn't going anywhere. We're gonna have a little bit of a hard time, but eventually, the next evolution of info-sharing on the net will arise, and while music labels and game makers are sinking millions into youtube fighting copyright laws, we'll have long since moved on and be laughing like we did at Myspace before Facebook and Twitter. :-)

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thebigo3d

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Microsoft: oh no, more bad press

EA: I gotta get me some of that!

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Code-Llama

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<< LINK REMOVED >> I laughed a lot more than I should at this. Kudos.

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pupp3t_mast3r

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Looks like we'll have two contenders for this years Worst Company Award!

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tinyname

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> MS will undoubtedly snag the golden poo award this year.

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M3o5nster

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Lol Microsoft was going down, so they turned on EA and leaked this information...

Problem is, we already expected this from EA.

Operation Diversion: Failed.

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2tonjunk

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Sony has done it as well.

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Martyr77

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> No they haven't and you go into articles and claim this but there is NO basis to your statement. Nice try Xbot.

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GSGuy321

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So, basically, pay those that promote, and then make copyright claims against those that are negative. Sounds about right for EA.

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thefinalzapkeet

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<< LINK REMOVED >> where does it say they'll bring copyright claims?

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frylock1987

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>

Well....most EA Games are takened down off of youtube due to copyright claims. A lot games are actually.

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