Warner Bros. and YouTubers lacked transparency on sponsored game reviewsBy Robin-Leigh Chetty 12 July 2016 | Categories: news
The Federal Trade Commission and Warner Bros. have reportedly reached a settlement regarding undisclosed payments made to YouTubers for giving positive reviews on sponsored content. While the finer details of the settlement have not been fully detailed, the most significant element will now see Warner Bros. being banned from not disclosing the amounts of money it will pay YouTubers for similar sponsored content in future.
Several YouTube creators were cited in this case, including PewDiePie, with WB's Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (review) being one game in particular where the amount of money that changed hands for sponsored content was not disclosed in its entirety.
What makes this case particularly confusing from our view, is that the game in question proved a massive hit in its own right, and did not require online "influencers" to boost sales, with the publishers releasing a Game of the Year edition several months after its initial cross-platform debut.
That said, it does bring into question the standing of many YouTube gaming creators, as The Verge points out, and whether the videos that their fans are watching have indeed been sponsored and influenced in some way. Add to that, the recent Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gambling fiasco, and soon YouTubers and publishers alike could find themselves in a consumer backlash.
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