Long before Xbox One emerged as the frontrunner to dominate the holiday 2015 season, Microsoft’s current-gen system had to persevere through one of the bumpiest starts for any video game console in history. Off the back of the company’s radical push toward an all-digital future replete with “anti-consumer” DRM (Digital Rights Management) policies and an attempt to stymie the proliferation of used games, the gaming community at large took umbrage with Microsoft’s plans for the Xbox One, forcing its hand into the by-now infamous reversal we know today.
Still, prior to the console’s launch in the fall of 2013, YouTube giant Machinima partnered with a number of notable personalities on the video streaming platform to promote the budding new system. However, the US Federal Trade Commission has found that neither Machinima nor the YouTubers that partook in the campaign – a list that includes Syndicate and SkyVsGaming – informed the end consumer of this deal, meaning both parties were guilty of a “false and misleading” advertising campaign.
In some instances, YouTubers were paid up to $30,000 to upload videos that would portray the Xbox One, its systems along with the launch titles in a positive light. Nevertheless, this has since been exposed by the FTC.
“In numerous instances, [Machinima] has failed to disclose, or disclose adequately, that the individuals who posted the reviews were compensated in connection with their endorsements,” it said.
“This fact would be material to consumers in their purchasing decisions regarding Xbox One and the Launch Titles. The failure to disclose this fact, in light of the representations made, was, and is, a deceptive practice.”
For a full rundown on the FTC’s intriguing findings regarding the Xbox One launch, you can consult the PDF file here.