Machinima, a popular video site dedicated to games, is offering YouTube users cash incentives to create Xbox One videos according to Kotaku.

And not just any old videos, these videos must be positive in order to qualify for the bonus on offer, which is $3 per 1,000 impressions (CPM). For YouTube personalities with large subscriber numbers, this means additional potential revenue of around $3,000 per million hits.

Kotaku says the details of the Machinima campaign were unearthed by a NeoGAF user, who posted Machinima’s initial email to its “influencers” to the NeoGAF forum:

Machinima

The most irregular aspect to all this was the stipulation that video creators interested in participating can’t say anything about being rewarded for their coverage according to the campaign’s official terms and conditions, which were tracked down by Ars Technica and posted online for all to see:

You agree to keep confidential at all times all matters relating to this Agreement, including, without limitation, the Promotional Requirements, and the CPM Compensation, listed above.  You understand that You may not post a copy of this Agreement or any terms thereof online or share them with any third party (other than a legal or financial representative).  You agree that You have read the Nondisclosure Agreement (attached hereto and marked as Exhibit “A”) and You understand and agree to all of terms of the Nondisclosure Agreement, which is incorporated as part of this Agreement.

There is no mention of Microsoft directly in any of the material pertaining to the Machinima campaign, but it stands to reason that this is happening with Redmond’s blessing.

While this whole thing might seem like a sweet deal for owners of popular YouTube channels, from a journalistic standpoint it just doesn’t feel right: Machinima is essentially paying for positive Xbox One coverage from a group of people who are usually championed for their impartiality. The fact that the rewards can’t be mentioned, and nothing bad said about the Xbox One at all, is highly questionable from an ethical standpoint.

What do you think? Is this much ado about nothing, or would you be up in arms if you found out your favourite YouTuber was nothing more than a paid shill?

Featured Image Credit: Kotaku 

Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.