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Multi-channel networks have been involved with a lot of the content control on YouTube lately. Anything that isn't hit with a copyright strike by a “Let's Play” content creator is usually due to a MCN taking control of the channel. Well, with that control comes a ton of shady deals that these YouTube partners and affiliates get handed down on a regular basis, including talking up games and products for a few extra coin without disclosing the fact that they're being paid for their positive opinion.
Boogie2988, better known as “Francis the rager”, a YouTube personality with more than 1.6 million subscribers, came forward to talk openly and honestly about the YouTube scandal involving major game publishers such as Electronic Arts and Microsoft, and how it happens a lot more often than you might think.
Computer and Videogames did a nice write-up on Boogie's comments, highlighting the most important parts of his video that discusses the dishonesty of these corporate tactics that claims are “commonplace” and “normal”.
"This system is so commonplace," … "I want to tell you that I have taken part in this system. Sometimes those contracts were so absurd that I refused to sign them. In that handful of cases where I have agreed, I have tried to make it abundantly clear."
Even in my own experience, I rarely use mainstream sites for reviews or opinions on a game. I watch Let's Play videos or walkthroughs (sometimes with commentary) and I read a ton of Amazon user reviews to get a gauge on whether or not the game is trash and if I buy it. If it's on PC, I usually head to the Steam forums because they're usually quick to let you know if a game is trash or not. Oh yeah, I also watch Angry Joe reviews, because he's legit like that. Strangely he hasn't done a video about this situation, though.
Even still, a lot of people trust the "average Joe" YouTuber for purchasing opinions because it feels as if it's not paid-off, bought-off, sponsored to the point where the opinion is swayed, much like how you watch AlphaOmegaSin or other big YouTubers and recognize that their (sometimes extreme) opinions feel heartfelt and honest. There's no Doritocratic influence... or so, that's what we used to think.
Nevertheless, Boogie let it be known that MCNs push these kind of scandalous deals on YouTubers all the time. A lot of these campaigns, however, spawn from actual publishers and manufacturers trying to push positive views on their products using stealth-marketing tactics. Subliminal influence so people feel as if the endorsed and paid-for view is the average view. The correct view.
It's understandable from a business perspective, but it's quite despicable from a consumer perspective, especially for those of us who watch videos for honest opinions to see if a game is worth buying or not.
But Boogie sums it up best, stating...
"These contracts are the norm with people who are networked,"
TotalBiscuit also did a very thorough rundown of the situation in a half-hour (plus) video, detailing the ins and outs of the trade. If you have time it's well worth a watch.
Sadly, that glass house that used to be YouTube opinions being less paid-for than major gaming site opinions is now shattered under the unfathomable weight of an ugly truth.