Report: Did Microsoft pay media outlets for positive Xbox One coverage?

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Running up to and following the launch of Xbox One in 2013, did Microsoft pay media outlets and video producers on YouTube for positive coverage of the console?

According to a report on Ars Technica, Microsoft and video outlet Machinima offered higher advertising rates on viewed YouTube videos for mentions of Xbox One.


As per a traditional advertising arrangement, this certainly wouldn’t be a problem but the fact that it was specified in a legal agreement that the video creators weren’t allowed to say anything negative about Xbox One, Machinima or Xbox games during the necessary thirty seconds of coverage, and were instead encouraged to be positive or simply neutral, makes the deal a little murky.

This offer to video creators has since expired, but as Ars Technica writer Kyle Orland correctly points out, this method of promoting products will only become more and more prevalent as product manufacturers – Microsoft or not – find new ways to advertise their goods that don’t involve easily ignored traditional methods of getting your attention.

When this kind of ‘stealth marketing’ involves a trusted source like Machinima, however, it becomes difficult to be able to continue to trust the opinions of people you once thought of as reputable.

Read the full report through the link and let us know if you think paying for neutral – and positive – opinions of products is a problem, or if you are able to make up your own mind without the influence of authoritative sources of information.

Source: Ars Technica