Moving forward, EA is taking a proactive approach when it comes to folks streaming or promoting their games through social media. If you received a game from the publisher for the promotional use, they've taken steps to make sure everyone knows exactly where that game came from.
Transparency has become more and more important in the world of gaming as of late and, rather than let the matter stew, EA has taken measures to address disclosure head-on. To be clear, this has no impact on Joe Average who picked up a copy of Battlefield, Madden or Titanfall and started streaming the game, either for fun or for a channel they're hoping to "go big" with. If, however, EA sends you a gratis copy of their game for streaming, they want to make sure everyone knows that is the case.
This announcement comes to us first from EA's German news blog, which was handily translated and summarized over on NeoGAF by user w3bba. In short, EA now requires that all streamers playing a provided copy of their game, by contract, disclose that fact. This is being broken down into two categories that, of course, take the form of hashtags. You are either #supportedbyEA or the content is an #advertisement.
If you're rolling with the Support hashtag, that means they have either given you a copy of the game, covered your travel expenses or gotten you into a press event. In this case, you are just checking things out and have "no influence on the content of the creator."
The Advertisement tag, though, is exactly what it sounds like. If you have a direct influence on games and such being developed or published by EA, that's the tag you'll be using from now on.
We say "streamer" because that's the group that's under fire the most these days, as it's getting harder and harder to tell if someone running Battlefield 1 early (or even after launch) was provided a copy of the game or may even be working for the publisher. But the tags are required across Facebook and Twitter, too, so pretty much all social media tied to these types of arrangements are covered.
The big difference for streamers is that, instead of just using the hashtag, they must go one step further by either offering a clear audio message within the video that the content is supported by or advertising an EA product, or they can include a watermark stating that fact on the video itself.
It's important to know when you're being advertised to, and we commend EA's efforts to make that process much clearer. The games press has had to state for a while now if a review was based on a copy of the game provided by a publisher, and steps have been taken in the past to extend those requirements to sponsored streamers and influential personalities in the world of gaming. This isn't something EA "had" to do but, given the fact that a lot of people still feel like they are being manipulated with surprisingly well-hidden declarations of sponsorship, it's actually a classy, open move we wouldn't mind seeing become the norm.