It may be news to a lot of people that video game companies like Microsoft and EA are paying reviewers money to positively promote their products in videos, but according to one YouTuber, it’s the standard practice.
boogie2988, with more than 1.6 million subscribers, is one of the more vocal personalities in the YouTube gaming community. In the midst of the latest paid promotion controversy to come out, he decided to explain just how these deals with reviewers work.
For many of the reviewers who signed with multi-channel networks (and some who haven’t), it’s completely normal to sign a contract with a game company to promote its content in exchange for free games and some bonus cash.
And yes, he’s done it before.
“You need to take the things you see on YouTube with a grain of salt because of this,” boogie2988 said. “Because not everybody feels the need to be transparent. Not everybody feels the need to be entirely open and honest with you. These contracts are the norm with people who are networked and some people who are not.”
Whenever boogie2988 has been paid to promote a game, he said he’s made that clear for his viewers, but based on their reactions to the Microsoft and EA news, it might not be as universally understood as he thought.
His problem isn’t with the practice of paid promotion. It’s with the lack of transparency from other reviewers participating in promotional campaigns, which can ultimately not just influence whether someone buys a game or console. It could influence the entire direction of a channel.
"It's not fair to you when YouTubers are not being open and are not being transparent about them getting paid,” he said. “The basis of this system needs to be transparency, openness and honesty."