Just days ago it was revealed that Machinima partners were being offered extra money to advertise the Xbox One in their videos. So long as they showed at least 30-seconds of gameplay footage and said nothing negative about the console they would earn an extra $3 for every 1,000 views. This in itself was not a problem for must people. What caused the controversey was that the video creators seemingly had to keep this deal completely secret.
Now both Microsoft and Machinima have responded to the criticism via IGN. Machinima stated, “This partnership between Machinima and Microsoft was a typical marketing partnership to promote Xbox One in December. The Xbox team does not review any specific content or provide feedback on content. Any confidentiality provisions, terms or other guidelines are standard documents provided by Machinima. For clarity, confidentiality relates to the agreements themselves, not the existence of the promotion.”
While Microsoft responded by saying, “Microsoft was not aware of individual contracts Machinima had with their content providers as part of this promotion and we didn’t provide feedback on any of the videos. We have asked Machinima to not post any additional Xbox One content as part of this media buy and we have asked them to add disclaimers to the videos that were part of this program indicating they were part of paid advertising.”
In short both companies are confirming that the promotion did exist, but that Microsoft had no part in crafting the specific details involved. They merely asked Machinima to create an Xbox One promotion, handed over the cash and left them to it. This does raise the question of why such a large company would fail to check the specifics of any promotional agreement made, though.
Meanwhile Machinima are claiming that confidentiality only applies to the agreement itself, and not the existence of the promotion. However, on first glance of that statement it seems that a video creator still would not be to say that the Xbox One advertisement was part of a paid deal as that would be breaking the confidentiality of the agreement. My assumption is that Machninima mean’t to say that partners are allowed to confirm the existence of the agreement and that the advertisement has been paid for, but are not allowed to reveal the specific details of said agreement, such as extra how much extra money they are earning.
Machinima clarified this by releasing another statement which said that their agreements do allow video creators to state their advertisement is paid for, but that for some reason many of their authors did not do so and are investigating why this happened.