EA is issuing online influencers, such as popular YouTube and Twitch personalities, a new set of rules and labels to apply to sponsored or promoted videos in a bid to maintain transparency with online viewers, and reduce a lack of disclosure. The new campaign was announced on EA’s German website, and has been translated by NeoGAF user w3bba:
“Gamers and viewers must be able to see whether they are independent and editorial content, supported placements of messages, or advertising […] Any YouTuber, streamer or otherwise active influencer, who enters into a collaboration with Electronic Arts in their content creation and does not yet use their own labeling system, is now requested to use our hashtags and watermarks.”
“All the activities of EA are under the motto ‘Players First,’ which means that we take the concerns and concerns of players and fans seriously at all times and react to them […] We want to create transparency with the markings and help to ensure that supported content and advertising are immediately identifiable as such.”
The hashtags and watermarks mentioned above are ‘#supportedbyEA’ and ‘#advertisement’. EA is requesting that the hashtags become mandatory labeling by the uploader on all social media postings and the watermarks are required in all cases where the promotional/sponsored nature of the video is not already clearly indicated with audio and/or text.
Hugely popular online stars, like PewDiePie and Angry Joe, have quickly become juggernauts of coverage for the gaming industry, and are positioned to overshadow more traditional coverage and journalism in coming years if they haven’t done so already. Transparency regulations have been slow to react to the explosive rise of online media, which has led to mistakes and shady dealings in the past. Just this year the FTC reached a settlement with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment over charges that the games publisher did not effectively disclose paying several YouTube personalities for positive coverage of their game Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor back in 2014.
EA may be taking this initiative in reaction to FTC’s doubling down on cases like these, but the strong endorsement for disclosure is a positive sign from a presence as enormous as they are. With luck, other major publishers will follow suit.
Source: Keen Gamer