Maybe seeing all of these videos on YouTube praising the Xbox One isn’t just a coincidence. According to a report from Ars Technica, Micrsofoft is paying YouTubers to post positive or neutral mentions of the Xbox One on the site.
The promotion is said to be born out of a stealth promotional campaign that Microsoft has with Machinima.com, Machinima.com is a website that posts cinematic videos created by recording gameplay. An email to one of Machinima’s top personalities was leaked last week, which was promoting a deal offering $3 for every 1,000 views the video promoting the Xbox One got. The videos have to include 30 seconds of Xbox One footage and it has to have a verbal mention of the console. The email says that the promotion would end on February 9th or when the video reached 1.25 million views, which would be a total of at least $3,750 in payouts for this stealth campaign.
There was also a leaked copy of the full agreement which stated that the video makers were not allowed to say “anything negative or disparaging about Machinima, Xbox One, or any of its games.”
The Federal Trade Commission Guidelines have a specification for promotions where “a connection between the endorser and the seller of the advertised product that might materially affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement,” which means that Microsoft along with Machinima may have violated the FTC’s rules with the stealth campaign.
Here is a quote from Microsoft regarding the subject:
“Microsoft was not aware of individual contracts Machinima had with their content providers as part of this promotion and we didn’t provide feedback on any of the videos,” a Microsoft spokesperson told The Huffington Post in an email. “We have asked Machinima to not post any additional Xbox One content as part of this media buy and we have asked them to add disclaimers to the videos that were part of this program indicating they were part of paid advertising.”
The PlayStation 4 is still beating the Xbox One is current sales, with the numbers coming in at 4.2 million units sold versus 3 million units sold up until December.