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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Carpetfluff

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Let's just agree that all the big companies probably do this or similar and move on...or are we going to have to sit through weeks of these articles where the only difference is the company mentioned? I wouldn't post this if Eddie's cheque had cleared mind you.

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atopp399

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Well I don't know. This is just another drop in the pond of reasons the PS4 is better than the Xbox One.

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Draign

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Most ridiculous comment ever.

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neowarrior121

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<< LINK REMOVED >> no we need names and faces so that the ones that haven't done it are the true face of the gaming community and industry and we can discard all the other rifraf.

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Carpetfluff

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> It'll be a very small list.


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neowarrior121

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> but a list it shall be and its something we can revert too when they go off the beaten track like a guiding tool

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Winzent

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One of my favorite commercials of all time was a celebrity just saying "Hi, i was payed to tell you about this game and now you know". What happended to the good old days ...

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Ahiru-San

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<< LINK REMOVED >> now anyone can be a celebrity...

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Ahiru-San

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I'm sorry, I am, but CoD:Ghosts > BF4… there I said it.

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Mr_Enlightened

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@Ahiru-San


Im sorry but is was scientifically proven that BF4> Cod:Ghosts

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Ahiru-San

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<< LINK REMOVED >> well can't argue with a scientist!! but I like Ghosts better anyways… at least online...

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Mr_Enlightened

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Bf is released every 2 years, yeah its plagued by bunch of overpriced DLC, but that doesnt make it less of a game.

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Ahiru-San

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<< LINK REMOVED >> BF is just like that too, yearly release just like CoD… and packed with a bunch of DLC (season pass for map packs too..) wait for BF5 later this year (or at least a spin-off like BF:bad company something like that)

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Mr_Enlightened

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@Ahiru-San@mr_enlightened

I guess its like a sport game now, like Fifa, with a yearly release.

I never immersed myself in that game, like im doing now with BF4

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Kr3isen

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Much brave, so talking, SUCH OPINION!

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Ahiru-San

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> and I haven't got any cent for it :(

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xgalacticax

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Everything > BF4.

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Paul2004

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Now that i think about it they have had some adverts but this isnt a surprise, game makers use similar adverts on TV afterall, this one isnt newsworthy given that the terms arent as restrictive as M$ (EA doesnt want buggy ad's, M$ wants absolutely no negative statements).
Still i think this is only the beginning, youtube channels do need cash but at the same time we need assurances that this wont affect the vids or their neutrality in reviews ect.

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Kr3isen

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I guess it makes sense now why not a single reviewer even remotely brought up BF4s problems. But lets be honest here this has always been around in some way or another. Just look at game reviews in general, 95% of the games that get reviewed all get a 90% average nowadays, no way are all those games so god damn amazing....

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ggregd

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Saying things that are obviously untrue doesn't support your argument. But since you said the equivalent of "65% of the time, it works every time" I guess you can't be expected to know anything about logic.

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Ahiru-San

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NOOOOOoo.. REEEEALLLY??!?1//1/1/?!?1/


ea1m13

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waffleiron88

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For a few hundred dollars yes, BF4 is awesome.

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Mr_Enlightened

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Im going to upload tutorials on how to specifically pirate EA games.

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pyro1245

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<< LINK REMOVED >> this it's necessary?

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Mr_Enlightened

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Doing my best to fight the system.

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Mr_Enlightened

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I thought companies were trying to take video game footage out of youtube.

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delete-EasyComeEasyGo

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What did you guys expect? MS and EA are BFF after all.

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thrombosis45

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Gamespot running these stories is the purest form of hypocrisy I've ever seen. Everyone knows that this site is paid for high review scores, it's part of the 200 million dollar marketing budgets of AAA titles. Just admit and you'll feel better trollspot.

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gagula94

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<< LINK REMOVED >> All right folks prepare tin foil hats.

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Morphine_OD

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<< LINK REMOVED >> the corruption spreads even higher - every reviewer is getting paid for reviewing games! Bastards! How dare they make money!

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bfa1509

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Careful, you could get a thrombectomy if you are not careful. Its also very strange that COD and Battlefield always rank either Number 1 or 2 on the Gamespot homepage even though there are tonnes of games with a higher score. Also all the sponsored COD/Battlefield articles that greet you when you come to gamespot.

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jagdedge124

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<< LINK REMOVED >>

Personally, i think this is just the tip of the iceberg.

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neowarrior121

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> and the gaming industry in the titanic?

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beuneus12

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no surprises here

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de-astroturfer

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"BF4 has no bugs on the xbox one" right EA you owe me $10 per 1000 views and Microsoft you owe me $10 per 1000 views too ! two birds with one lie.

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neowarrior121

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<< LINK REMOVED >> do they also owe you the birds too

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de-astroturfer

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Yes perks of the job ;)

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daabulls23

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"clearly and conspicuously"

Right...

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deactivated-58270bc086e0d

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Wow I love it how the word promotion can automatically become "paid off to post good reviews". How do you read this article and automatically come up with that?

This is promotion. If I want to promote something the only thing you have to do is make people aware of it. Advertising is that, billboards, leaflets. A review is a form of it but how does this automatically constitute ONLY reviews?

Microsoft and EA paid people to promote their brand so those people are automatically forced to make reviews about them? How narrow minded are you people?

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jagdedge124

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<< LINK REMOVED >>

In lieu of the "Payola Scandals" from the 50's until the 80's that plagued the Music Industry, you have to disclose that's exactly what you're doing from my understanding of it. Not to do so is deemed a Crime by the FCC. Although i don't think the FCC monitors Cable or the Internet, i'm sure other Regulatory Agencies do, and i would guess have to investigate to see if this indeed is a Crime.

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neowarrior121

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yea so bad, i want a full enquiry to all of them now so i can categorically say this is the only trusted gaming companies on the planet.

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tinyname

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Sony is the only trustable one. Nintendo too, but they're senile, so they don't count.

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m_dorian

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EA. Not even once.

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Razor10000

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no shit, sherlock. why do people think battlefield 4 have so good reviews and websites saying the game multiplayer was amazing? them the game was released and people payed the game and it was broken, still is.

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de-astroturfer

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It doesn't surprise me Microsoft and EA shared their shady promotional ideas with each other, EA have been best friends with Microsoft ever since Microsoft hatched its used game fees in collaboration with them, they practically share the same boardroom.

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tinyname

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This really does explain all the praise that DmC got. Playing that now cause I got it free on PS+. Man, what a huge pile of crap that game is.

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Primeyuri

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So how is it a conspiricay that reviewers get payed by big companies?

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deactivated-58270bc086e0d

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Where does it say reviews? It just says promote. Putting a video of an EA game with EA on it is enough. You don't have to make out that EA is the greatest thing ever just, make people aware of them. It is like subliminal messaging and logo promotion. We get so used to seeing logos for big brands around that we automatically think of them when we need them. Like if I want a drink Coca Cola isn't far from my mind.

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demondogx

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> well yeah basicly it arent reviews but in these contracts the user will only be paid if they are positive about the game that they are playing, even if they dont like the game themselfs they just have to act like they do.

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repetitious

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If they dont like it, then who is forcing them to do it?

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de-astroturfer

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@Primeyuri

Because they don't disclose the fact its a paid advertisement and let people think its an honest unbiased opinion.

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mellow09

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<< LINK REMOVED >>They're being paid to misrepresent the product and not tell anyone about it.

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demondogx

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<< LINK REMOVED >> That they only get payed if they are positive about it.

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