PewDiePie and a few other YouTubers, are in hot water after accusations have surfaced that they were paid “thousands of dollars” to say nice things about the 2014 release, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. The issue is that Warner Bros. failed to disclose that it had actually paid these YouTubers to cover the game. Under the agreement, Warner Bros. also failed to disclose similar details of the agreement between the YouTubers and the publisher.
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The deal between the YouTubers and Warner Bros. included at least one Tweet and Facebook post about the game, as well as videos of the game without showing it in a “negative light”. The videos could not express negative opinions about the game or Warner Bros. itself, show any bugs in the game, glitches. The videos also had to include a “strong verbal call-to-action” to click the pre-order link in the description to pre-order the game, learn about the game, or how to play it.
This is not the first time an issue like this has come up as in 2014, Gamasutra investigated a claim where more than 40 YouTubers were questioned with more than 5,000 subscribers, of which a quarter of them took money to sponsor content.