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Default Shadow of Mordor - WB Paid for Positive Reviews

July 12th, 2016, 07:35
@ArsTechnica Warner Brothers has settled with the FTC over paying YouTubers for positive Shadow of Mordor reviews.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a settlement on Monday with Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Inc. over the studio's alleged failure to properly disclose that it had paid top YouTube "influencers" to promote the 2014 game Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. While the FTC's complaint against Warner Bros. (PDF) does not mention any specific influencer, the commission's press release calls out PewDiePie, the world's top-earning YouTube video creator, as one of the so-called influencers that took the studio's money.



The FTC's complaint says that a third-party marketing team hired by Warner Bros. gave the YouTube game reviewers "cash payments often ranging from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars," as long as the videos they made about Shadow of Mordor met certain criteria. Among those criteria were stipulations that the video had to be positive about the game; could not show any bugs or glitches that the reviewer may have found in the early release copy they were given to play; could not contain any negative sentiments about the game, Warner Bros., or its affiliates; and had to include "a strong verbal call-to-action to click the link in the description box for the viewer to go to the [game's] website to learn more about the [game], to learn how they can register, and to learn how to play the game."

In addition, the YouTube creators also had to make at least one Facebook post or one Tweet to promote the video they made about Shadow of Mordor.
More information.
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July 12th, 2016, 11:39
This is odd.
Didn't know reviews were paid.
The only youtube review I watched was TotalBiscuit's - he loved the game in it, but at the same time he did note stuff like 6Gb VRAM needed for ultra idiocy.

And of course, thanks to TBs video, although he was having fun and stating it's the best AC that's not AC something like that, I was sure this game is nothing I want to play. It wasn't AC. Not even close to AC.

Did TB get $ dunno, the thing is his review was IMO great and you could easily see from it if that game is something you want to buy or is just another arcadey garbage that should have 5 bucks price max but is being sold at $50.
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July 12th, 2016, 12:28
Yeah, nothing new. Most of the big publishers are doing the same. Sometimes they are getting away with it, sometimes they are exposed. Thing is: with the games technical quality going down the drain, like they are made by anything but professionals, even the usual suspects (IGN, Gamespot and other major outfits) can't give them positive reviews. Contrary to the general management belief, games actually require a decent amount of time to be worked upon and even then, they are not bug free. But given that decent amount of time (at least two years) and a professional team, the game will be released with few bugs and can be patched more easily. Instead of common sense, we have rushed games, tremendously buggy releases, releases that are quickly abandoned.

Thing is: the PC customer got smarter in the last couple of years. it started to actually vote with his wallet. Look at the sales of titles that were supposed to be blockbusters: Rise of Tomb Raider, Just Cause 3, HITMAN, Batman: Arkham Knight and such. They are nowhere near of what we would have expected. Of course, the corps will have their own narrative: the franchise is dead, the genre is not popular anymore and so on. But with many of them, due to the Denuvo DRM, they can't use the classic excuse with piracy is big on PC. Many of those games have the sales still undisclosed (Dragon Age Inquisition sales are still not published, nor the ones for SW: Battlefront). Slowly, the corps might understand that the fault lies in their way to manage things, in their mentality. It's unacceptable in a time when software distribution is digital to see prices that are much more then we had physical releases. To see the prices doubling in the last 5 years for products that eliminated most of the middlemen or all of them is not logical. When you can sell an unlimited amount of copies, you can drop the prices to a really low ceiling.

Maybe someday, the big guys will get the fact that quality sells better than quantity, that if you sell enough copies at an acceptable price, you might get an even bigger profit and you won't be hurt on long term. All the big publishers acquired a bad rep in the last years. To get rid of that they need to actually change the way they do things. Otherwise they are condemned to bankrupcy (we've seen that before, big companies thought to be eternal, going down because internal greed).
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July 12th, 2016, 12:46
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
This is odd.
Didn't know reviews were paid.
The only youtube review I watched was TotalBiscuit's - he loved the game in it, but at the same time he did note stuff like 6Gb VRAM needed for ultra idiocy.

And of course, thanks to TBs video, although he was having fun and stating it's the best AC that's not AC something like that, I was sure this game is nothing I want to play. It wasn't AC. Not even close to AC.

Did TB get $ dunno, the thing is his review was IMO great and you could easily see from it if that game is something you want to buy or is just another arcadey garbage that should have 5 bucks price max but is being sold at $50.
TB does not take money to shill. His deal was always honest opinion on things. You can be 100% sure he is at least one honest reviewer
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July 12th, 2016, 13:34
Originally Posted by Archangel View Post
TB does not take money to shill. His deal was always honest opinion on things. You can be 100% sure he is at least one honest reviewer
He spoke about the Shadow of Mordor deal he was offered…and refused.
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July 12th, 2016, 15:59
The pity is that the game was good; so there was no need for this crap. It isn't new; but it is illegal and the penalties should be harsher.
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July 12th, 2016, 16:41
I thought it was overrated. I found it very mediocre.
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July 12th, 2016, 16:48
Originally Posted by you View Post
no need for this crap. It isn't new; but it is illegal and the penalties should be harsher.
It's been going on in all media for years. Back when the Source magazine was a big thing (hip-hop magazine), it was well-known that a lot of the "5 mic" perfect ratings for albums were bought and paid for. Not to mention systems like payola on the radio. One of the biggest investments for music labels is paying radio stations to play their songs more. It's all bullshit and it's bad for you.

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July 12th, 2016, 16:50
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I thought it was overrated. I found it very mediocre.
agreed - I played for about 15 hours I think and then got so bored I had no motivation to deal with increasingly tough bosses (the game story was interesting, but overshadowed…if you'll pardon the pun…by repetitive game mechanics).
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July 12th, 2016, 17:36
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
It's been going on in all media for years.
^ THIS. YES. AGREED.

This has been going on back to the 80s with print mags.
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July 12th, 2016, 17:39
Man, if you can't trust a guy named PewDiePie, who can you trust?
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July 12th, 2016, 22:21
This game had some good points, but after a few hours it was literally just about doing the same things, over and over. Plus, you could use the "fast run" mode to escape pretty much any battle.

Maybe it opened up more later, but I got tired of it after maybe 5 hours. Meh.
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July 12th, 2016, 22:59
I played it quite a bit, and due to the "nemesis" system (at least initially) it can be very fun. It keeps you playing, when you finally die (I died like 15 hours in) and it makes you have a grudge against the pixel that did it to you. You influence the political structure (and I use that term very loosely) of the Orc hierarchy, and can be a "long game" view on who/what you kill and when. That's when it shines.

Then, the game just loses steam after 25 or so hours, and you end up walking all over the end boss and uninstalling it.


I like TB, and Zero Punctuation, and pretty much trust them. Cannot do PDP tho, incredibly annoying, does not surprise me he'd be on the take. He's a showman, nothing more
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July 13th, 2016, 00:00
It has a lot of promise… controls, camera, animations: top notch, but it's "everyone can master it" design kills it.
Like with AC: Why go through all that effort when the whole thing can be played with two buttons and little attention.
Similar thing : http://giphy.com/gifs/eaign-26BRwfOL874FPPgs0
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July 13th, 2016, 02:57
PC Gamer did an article, too: http://www.pcgamer.com/warner-bros-s…cers-campaign/

I can't say I'm too happy with this ending in a slap on the wrist for WB. Probably makes sense from a practical point of view - spending $20 million on a drawn-out court battle to get a $5 million fine makes it hard to fund your other lawsuits - but such a flagrant thing needs to be punished, IMHO.
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July 13th, 2016, 06:01
Shocking, just shocking… that they got caught. Somebody got sloppy. Tsk. I'll bet they learn their lesson, and bribe the right people next time.
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July 13th, 2016, 11:40
Originally Posted by BoboTheMighty View Post
It has a lot of promise… controls, camera, animations: top notch, but it's "everyone can master it" design kills it.
Like with AC: Why go through all that effort when the whole thing can be played with two buttons and little attention.
Similar thing : http://giphy.com/gifs/eaign-26BRwfOL874FPPgs0
No, that design just like in batman games is the best part.

If you want proper games that let you master yourself and master the control of frames of your character play a fighting game like SF4/5 or MK10/Injustice. At least those games were designed to leave everything in total control of player, all these action games just fuck you up with all different kinds of problems.

Better to have them just be fun like Batman games.
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July 13th, 2016, 21:20
They should be sued for paying for something they would have obtained for free.

Reviewers take a positive stance on any product. This goes as far as in reviewers in outlets like Steam feeling overtly positive on products crashing and wiping saves.

YT reviewers need to sell their stuff and their viewers want to see them have fun.
Very few YT (or extended) reviewers have the talent to provide the show while reporting negatively on a product.
Most of them take the marketing slope: they feature themselves having fun when playing a fun product.

The best part in this story is that the initiative might have come from the marketing department fearing for budget cuts.

YT reviewing business is inherently tied to posting positive reviews, YTers wishing for traffic and revenues are compelled to depict positively what they are reviewing (same thing happens for sport event commentators who carefully avoid mentioning how shockingly poor the match they are commenting in fear of spooking viewers)

YT reviewers act naturally as salespeople for the product they have chosen. It negates the need for a marketing department to some extent.
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July 13th, 2016, 23:06
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
They should be sued for paying for something they would have obtained for free.
Not sure if I understood you correctly, but check this video about paying (warning, foul language!) and WB:
https://youtu.be/eOUOzL04Byg?t=209

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July 13th, 2016, 23:28
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
They should be sued for paying for something they would have obtained for free.

Reviewers take a positive stance on any product. This goes as far as in reviewers in outlets like Steam feeling overtly positive on products crashing and wiping saves.

YT reviewers need to sell their stuff and their viewers want to see them have fun.
Very few YT (or extended) reviewers have the talent to provide the show while reporting negatively on a product.
Most of them take the marketing slope: they feature themselves having fun when playing a fun product.

The best part in this story is that the initiative might have come from the marketing department fearing for budget cuts.

YT reviewing business is inherently tied to posting positive reviews, YTers wishing for traffic and revenues are compelled to depict positively what they are reviewing (same thing happens for sport event commentators who carefully avoid mentioning how shockingly poor the match they are commenting in fear of spooking viewers)

YT reviewers act naturally as salespeople for the product they have chosen. It negates the need for a marketing department to some extent.
What is this magic?! A Chien post that I can understand and read normally.
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