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 thefinalzapkeet
thefinalzapkeet

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I'm a bit confused here and someone can maybe clear it up

What exactly is the big deal here? from what it sounds like they're just paying youtube channels to promote their games. This is basic marketing no? sure you can't say anything negative, but it sounds like you don't have to say anything positive either. as a result, you can post an EA gameplay footage, not say anything, and get paid if a lot of people watch it. i thought that's how youtube pretty much normally works anyway?

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2tonjunk

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<< LINK REMOVED >> It's the same thing as a TV ad. Sony, EA, Canon, Nikon, Avermedia, AMD, intel, hell every one is doing it. I have done it for Sony's Vita and PS3.

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C-THREE

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<< LINK REMOVED >> I think, at least in microsofts case that you did have to say something positive about the game and say the name xbox one and use a certain tag in your video to get paid. I'm not a xbox hater I'm just stating the facts.

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evil_snuggles

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The big deal is you think that it is someone honest opinion not someone trying to sell you something. It dishonest if you don't know someone is trying to make money off you. it's similar to when someone pretends to be your friends with a secret motives.

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thefinalzapkeet

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<< LINK REMOVED >> but that's what i'm confused about. the promotion isn't about saying positive things about the game. it's just playing a game that they can do.

if i see a 30 second video of Dead Rising 3 with no commentary, how is that "dishonest"?

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PetJel

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@thefinalzapkeet@evil_snuggles Because the consumer assumes they play the game because they like it or think its fun if they don't state otherwise, especially if glitches and bugs are not allowed to be shown, giving misinformation about the game.

Thats like me test driving a car at a dealership, buying it, and then the dealer switches the radio back with a broken radio before I drive off without my knowing.

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Tao_and_Zen

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Gee, so Microsoft isn't alone in this kind of thing. Huh, who would have thunked it? This is the way our world works. I think people should get over it. If they're really offended, they shouldn't buy these companies' products. The bottom line is, if you can think for yourself and can make up your own mind, does it really matter how these companies promote their products? If you like their stuff, you'll buy it, if you don't then you won't. Nothing more needs to be said or done.

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skittzo_s

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@Tao_and_Zen When a person uses the word "thunked", I too have to question if this is the way our world works.

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19James89

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I really want to like EA, but they just make it so impossible.

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FAIL_TR0LL

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Dang, I have BF4 and an Xbox One. I was sitting on a potential goldmine!

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M3o5nster

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@FAIL_TR0LLor sh*tpile...

One man's garbage is another man's treasure. *shrug*

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redmagic123

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People acting like reviewers aren't paid to do this very thing lol, anyone why Giantbomb was created? Gamespot posting this seems pretty ironic

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Khasym

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<< LINK REMOVED >> These aren't reviewers. Reviewers are unbiased. Reviewers don't take money from a company and agree NOT to say bad things about a game that may indeed have bad qualities. These are advertisers, that EA and Microsoft are trying to pass off as reviewers or impartial sources.

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frylock1987

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

lol.....Meanwhile Gamespot fired one Editor for refusing to change a review score, which lead to pretty much the people WITH credibility, leaving with him and starting Giant Bomb.

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Thanatos2k

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There's a reason they're the Worst Company in America.

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deactivated-5962a4d2614f8

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Yeah because that actually means anything. Please pull your head out your ass and quit being a muppet. Perhaps you should take a look at their financial documents then ask their Board of Directors if they actually give a **** about some columnist article. Maybe in the Muppet Kingdom worst company in America actually means something. In the real world money dictates everything. If you're looking for a company to kiss your ass then try Procter & Gamble, I'm pretty sure they make Pampers brand diapers in your size.

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frylock1987

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

People like you would be the first person to get shot in the face when in a crazy situation.

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Thanatos2k

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@HIT3kNology@Thanatos2k Their business practices are despicable. Only some kind of astroturfing muppet would actually DEFEND them.

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Thanatos2k

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<< LINK REMOVED >>Just because you can name something worse does not mean that everything else should be forgiven. Keep getting shit on as a consumer, after all, others somewhere have it worse so why ever complain?

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RobDev

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@Thanatos2k despicable? Really, when any software company uses african villages as guinea pigs for drug trials or pollutes rivers or takes peoples homes from them or kills anyone then come back to me. Jesus christ, entitled whiny gamers and their hyperbole really fucking annoys me.

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Ensabuhnur

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Newsflash if 2 companies are doing this, than many other are doing also, welcome to thew new age of false adverts.

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RobDev

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<< LINK REMOVED >> New age? all ads are lying to you in one way or another. what the **** do you think a company does if it comes up with a bad product? doubles it's ad budget.

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Ensabuhnur

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@RobDev @Ensabuhnur I said the NEW Age you clown. Learn to read. False advertising is a well known and old practice genius and here is the new incarnation of it.

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NikIvRu

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....Is this becoming a trend?

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maxpowr3

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Makes Yahtzee sound more and more impartial. He hates EA and especially Origin.

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randomkidlol

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Well its a step better than nintendo pulling their free advertisement gameplay videos off youtube.

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MapleLeafKush

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See EA and M$ both make shitty flawed products and they know it so they have to compensate some how

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Sir_Claude

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@MapleLeafKush MS hasn´t been on an amazing streak lately but saying they make sh**ty products is an exaggerated claim... and EA might not the best publisher right now but they still sell a lot and as long as people keep buying games from them they will continue with their current business practices...

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blackace

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<< LINK REMOVED >>80+ million 360 sold, Probably to to 4 million XBox One sold. Even though many of their O/S have had issues, XP and Windows 7 are wonderful. Sony & Nintendo have made a few shitty products in their lifetime as well. People forget about the PSPGO and Virtual Boy. lol!!

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frylock1987

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

X1 has only sold 3 Million so far. PS4 sold 4 Million.

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breadisgood

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People here are acting as if every single youtuber is under this program. I know I watch plenty of videos that show bugs and don't try to make the game seem better than it is.

There's no way a company can hide problems with a game anyway, for every youtuber getting paid by EA to make their game look good there'll be hundreds of others pointing out how broken it is.

It doesn't surprise me that they're doing this at all. If they're breaking FTC rules then they should be held accountable for it, if not then whatever, we're bombarded by deceptive advertising every day, it's nothing new.

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DeViLzzz2014

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<< LINK REMOVED >> It is not a whatever situation. If people are breaking laws they should be held accountable. Period.

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fern420

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I especially like the part where EA encourages and promotes the youtubers to break international trade law...atleast EA's legal team is being "beta tested" because I gotta imagine with the sharks already circling this will turn into another class action with no shortage of people wanting to jump on board.


here's a link to all of EA's shill bogus paid off youtubers:


<< LINK REMOVED >>

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beuneus12

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<< LINK REMOVED >> That's for Xbone, not EA..

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deactivated-57bac25e99ee3

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<< LINK REMOVED >> TheRadBrad is in on this as well?!?! I used to enjoy watching his playthrough videos on YouTube but maybe not anymore...

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fern420

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@robertcain


I see play through videos are another story, they are fun and informative and not really meant to push a product or sway your decision to purchase it.


I think we are all just going to have to use our discretion more when it comes to the size of the gain of salt we are packing when we watch a game "review"

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Avatar image for deactivated-57bac25e99ee3
deactivated-57bac25e99ee3

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<< LINK REMOVED >> The point is if you watch TheRadBrad's videos on Ryse, you'll notice that there's apparently ''nothing'' he didn't like and he never said anything bad about the game. Given that Ryse is a severely flawed game, this is false marketing through bribery which is wrong for both restricting opinions and manipulating consumers.

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XIntoTheBlue

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One reason I watch videos of people playing video games is to get a good idea of how those games are without having some agenda. Why would I want to watch the popular YouTubers if they're now getting paid by the publishers themselves? I think I will stick to watching videos from the smaller folks who generally get small amounts of views. At least they're more likely not to be under publisher's influences.

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DeViLzzz2014

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<< LINK REMOVED >>

Glad I am not subscribed to any of these idiots on YouTube and hopefully soon there will be an EA related list.

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helldragonzer

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well let's face it the only way anyone would speak good of EA is if they are getting paid.

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Draign

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This marketing strategy also works against them in some cases. I watched the entire campaign of bioshock:Infinite on youtube. I was curious as to how the story went and saved 60 bucks watching these paid to players instead of purchasing.

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santinegrete

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<< LINK REMOVED >> don't you feel compelled to play it?

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santinegrete

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So sponsored videos are identified but they demand complete omission of glitchs (wich, to our understandment, are not good and I want to know if there's such in a product I may want to purchase). It's just like any publicity, regimented but not always honest.


Do you think I'll find non sponsored gameplay videos?

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Draign

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Boring ones.

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