The biggest scandal in gaming since GamerGate has finally come to light. Shadow of Mordor is the game in question and this is a sad in gaming journalism.Reported by the Verge, it has been confirmed that for the promotion of the Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor game, Warner Bros. were paying a group of YouTubers to edit out the bugs and glitches they had found on their playthrough. This goes on deeper than this.
The Federal Trade Comission (FTC) had reached a settlement with Warner Bros. regarding the claims that the company had recruited, or bribed, some YouTubers for positive promotion on the game. Accoridng to the FTC, Warner Bros. had deceived consumers by paying these social users tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars; this, of course, includes the biggest YouTube star: PewDiePie. All this was going on unannounced and this is, of course, heavily frowned upon as it is pure bribery.
As punishment, Warner Bros. is forced to disclose any and all important aspects of their promotional plans for their products. Any paid promotion must be announced as such in order for the public to know that the opinion in question is influenced by the company.
“Consumers have the right to know if reviewers are providing their own opinions or paid sales pitches,” director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection Jessica Rich said in a statement. “Companies like Warner Brothers need to be straight with consumers in their online ad campaigns.”
The agreement made between the publishing company and the social influencers stated that they were not allowed to show any negative aspects of the game. This includes their negative opinion on the game as well as any and all defects they found on their way such as glitches, bugs and more. The biggest issue here is of course, the fact that these videos were posted and treated as independent opinion, earning the game a lot more buzz.
It is stuff like this that ruins the image of gaming journalism and some of us need to seriously question the integrity of certain sources. YouTube has grown tremendously on the gaming field and although that is a great thing, it is also an important responsibility that independent YouTubers with huge followings have to consider before accepting these bribes. We must all remember to continue taking steps forward as an industry and not for our own selfish benefits. What do you think about this sad news? What about PewDiePie? Let us know in the comments below.