I had noticed a thread on NeoGAF regarding EA introducing a set of rules for both streamers and reviews of their games and I wanted to take a moment to talk about it. More so because it’s not being talked about enough and it really needs to be. In a move that has shocked me and made me appreciate the effort, EA has mandated that anyone who is either paid by EA for an advertisement or received something in return for coverage, must fully disclose as such. Now, this is broken down into two parts – #supportedbyEA and #advertisement.
#supportedbyEA: Covers all content that EA has supported, such as through invitations to events or shows, or the coverage of travel expenses. EA will have no direct influence over the creation of this content, however.
#advertisement: Actual advertising, covering “content that EA could have editorial influence over or content that EA itself has created.”
In layman’s terms, if EA provided a copy of a game, that would require the #supportedbyEA hashtag. While EA providing you money to say something that they provided to you to say, such as an actual advertisement that you’d hear on the radio/TV/website ad, would require the #advertisement hashtag.
While Electronic Arts haven’t mentioned exactly why they are doing this, one can only look back at the issues that Warner Bros. was involved in not long ago. For those who aren’t aware, the company had been paying thousands of dollars to popular Youtube/Twitch streamers, including PewDiePie, to promote “Middle-earth Shadow of Mordor” and did not require any disclosure on the videos or articles that were produced. The FTC got involved and Warner Bros. was fined a substantial amount for this, however, the actual amount was not made known. You can read more about this here and here.
Now, I want to make it perfectly clear there are tons of people out there, Youtubers/Streamers/Reviewers that go out there way to announce or show that they were provided a copy or received something for their work/content. We even do it here, by stating on every review that the copy of the game was provided by whichever company provided it. This doesn’t change anything for those honest people out there, yet will force those who claim that they had no involvement with the company to show that in fact they actually do. Unless they want to run the risk of EA stepping in and potentially pulling any previous support/agreements with them.
This needs to be something the ENTIRE gaming industry needs to adapt, including several major companies. I won’t mention them but I’m sure you can imagine who they are.
Now excuse me, while I go back and update all our Electronic Art reviews with the actual #advertisement hashtags.