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Numerous YouTube stars admit to being paid by publishers

Survey finds that some online personalities have accepted money in return for coverage

Nearly a dozen YouTube stars have admitted to accepting money from game publishers or developers in exchange for covering their games.

In a survey carried out by Gamasutra, 141 YouTubers were asked a number of questions regarding the ethics of YouTube video game criticism.

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Of those interviewed, 30 per cent (42 people) had over 5000 subscribers to their channel. Of these 42 people, 11 (26%) admitted to "receiving money directly or indirectly from a game dev/publisher for recording videos of their games", with another two replying that they "preferred not to say".

The survey also points out that, of those with less than 5000 subscribers, only 2 per cent had received money from a publisher, showing that as a YouTuber's popularity increases the number of offers they receive does too.

A number of those surveyed also gave their opinions on the ethics of this practice. 40 per cent of those with more than 5,000 subscribers said they thought the idea of publishers and developers paying for video coverage was acceptable, though some added the condition that it should be disclosed.

"We video creators live in complicated times," replied one anonymous respondent.

"It is expected from our work to be free. Copyright holders don't want us to monetise, no one likes ads, no one likes paid content but we invest our free time into covering the games we love, want to share: basically give free PR for the game itself. If a YouTuber asks for money for delivering great content, it's not wrong - it's a compensation."

Another respondent added: "If you need money and you get an offer to advertise a good game I think it is worth it. If the developer can't afford to pay YouTubers to promote their games they shouldn't do it."

A third said: "If they can get away with that, it's their prerogative."

Other respondents had a different view, however. "I think [such deals] should be avoided like the plague," one said. "If a YouTuber wants to make money then they should work hard like the rest of us on the videos. If a developer wants to sponsor a channel then that's up to the developer, not the YouTuber".

"It's a bit too far," agreed another. "I'm all for profiting from your work, but taking payment to play a game in this manner is a bit like taking a bribe to provide a good review. It feeds dishonesty."

Earlier this year, popular YouTube star Boogie2988 stated that undisclosed agreements between YouTube networks and game marketing divisions were "commonplace".

His comments, which came with a confession that he too has signed similar contracts, came in the wake of revelations about Microsoft paying YouTube personalities to endorse Xbox.

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