[Update: The Machinima promotion may violate the FTC's guidelines]
When your console is getting trashed by anyone who doesn't watch TV on their TV, when you have no idea how to win over the silent Japanese audience and when some people still think your system is an NSA Spybox incarnate, there's only one solution left: pay for good publicity.
Well, Microsoft might have to dole out free dental care for the Brits to win them over. There's also the option of handing out free guns, but that only works in America. They also have the option of handing out more welfare checks to Americans with Xbox logos on it (something similar seems to be working so far), but I don't think that will work out so well for the rest of the global gaming audience.
iGame Responsibly managed to get hold of an image of an e-mail being passed around to select Machinima partners to help promote the Xbox One and the Xbox One's games.
So how much is Microsoft offering? Three cool and breezy dollars for CPM, or $3 for every one thousand applicable impressions. For the average YouTuber that gains about 35,000 views per video that would roughly translate into $105 per video. As noted by iGR, even if the video(s) hit(s) 1.25 million views, that would only cost Microsoft $3,750. That's decent cash for YouTubers, but it's peanuts for Microsoft.
There's also a matter of dignity, respect and ethics that come into play... although, really, when money is on the line does anyone really care about those things?
Ethics? Nope. Doritos and Mountain Dew? Heck yeah.
That's not to mention that personalities like Angry Joe, AlphaOmegaSin and Rich from ReviewTech USA were just a few of many YouTubers who helped shape a negative perception of the Xbox One following all that DRM nonsense Microsoft unveiled last year. Getting any of those types to change their tune would help Microsoft drastically.
Nevertheless, a case is made for how the gaming community at large will view this promotional proposition by Microsoft, as iGR notes...
“The amount offered is a great incentive for YouTuber’s to promote Xbox One content. Honestly, it’s hard to tell what effect this will have on the viewing community. Some may view this as everyday business, which it is, but some may lose faith in personalities that feature Xbox One content from here on out.”
This kind of marketing isn't anything new, but the main reason a lot of people flock to YouTube personalities is because they're honest or relatable enough in the portrayal of their content that people trust what they have to show. They can even help push sales of games depending on how the audience reacts to the content.
Dissolving the honesty of a YouTube personality into what's essentially a paid-for 30-second spot in their videos to positively pimp an Xbox One game may rub some gamers the wrong way. We would also have to take into account that it's no longer an honest depiction of the game when you have to portray the title in a certain light; it's advertising.
Some gamers don't have a problem with it... they see Microsoft's reach out to the YouTube community with this gesture of financial goodwill as a necessary evil to help along the Xbox brand and turn around some of the chronic hatred and abandonment of the Xbox brand from people with level heads, into a more positive outlook on the home console and its software titles.
Of course, there are others who feel Microsoft has become absolutely desperate – similar to that poll where bots were used to help boost up the Xbox One in the Americas – and some see it as a problem the company can't fix on their own... other than throwing money at it, of course.
The real question is, how do you feel about it? Do you think YouTubers who join in on the promotion are selling out? Or do you think it's just smart business?