Microsoft Xbox One Prompts Outrage After YouTube Stealth-Marketing Stunt

Games video creators on YouTube have reacted angrily to a stealth marketing campaign for Microsoft's Xbox One which paid bloggers for posting favourable videos.

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XiSasukeUchiha1638d ago

Yep MS you got learn how to do marketing legally!

NewMonday1638d ago

the story is getting picked up by mainstream media now.

xHeavYx1638d ago Show
mewhy321638d ago

Wow. this isn't surprising coming from ms. Before you know it they'll hire Don Mattrick back.

truefan11638d ago

Well if you buy games or a console without doing your own research you are an idiot anyway.

BALLBAGS1638d ago (Edited 1638d ago )


the guardian is as mainstream media as you can get

now they have picked up on it it will reach the news on tv

Charybdis1638d ago (Edited 1638d ago )

Even if it is “so commonplace” that it is “happening every day on YouTube”. It shouldn't happen.
Glad it was temporarily otherwise a whole lot more people would be trying to cash in on this deal.

MightyNoX1638d ago


The Guardian:



Also, the Community Director for Machinima has deleted his account:

dedicatedtogamers1638d ago

Microsoft can't just catch a break. You know why?

Pssst, I'll tell you:

[because this is business as usual for them. They've been this way since the '80s.]

People can go ahead and stick their head in the sand. That's fine. Watch our beloved hobby crumble as companies like Microsoft moneyhat everything instead of being passionate about the industry.

Inb4 "Sony Too™"

Baka-akaB1638d ago (Edited 1638d ago )

And people alway watch bemused , ever since the xbox , when you tell them you dont like Microsoft .

I dont even need one specific reason , they've provided several since the 80s , and only added some shenanigans in the console world , to their varied portfolio of crap .

"but other corporation are bad too" . Yup definitively , but not many have evangelists defending them whatever happens with so few benefits

"But others care about money foremost too" . Yeah but you dont need to appear that blunty cynical and obvious to your customers . You could *gasp* get moneyfrom satisfying your customers

DragonKnight1638d ago

Did you know that MS had a similar campaign back in November that wasn't discovered until this one was? So how many positive Xbox One stories were bought and paid for I wonder?

slapedurmomsace1638d ago

Honestly this deserves a small shake of the head and an amused smirk on the face. This isn't earth shattering by any stretch. Most company's do this. I honestly find this entertaining becomes it just had to be MS that gets outted so quickly. This company just can't seem to catch a break. I think thats probably why the medias picking up on it. They're restructuring, going through a CEO transition, They posted a loss recently (though i believe that was because of write off) Windows Phones growth has been incredibly slow, windows 8 was flop, windows rt was a disaster, the xbox one reveal was embarrassing at best, what sony did to them at e3 was a disaster,but yet maybe the best thing that happened for console gaming in a long time as it forced MS to change the xbox into an actually appeally console. Good news however is the xbox one went on to have a darn fine launch. Regardless of how or where they sold them, 3 plus million in less than 2 months launch is very impressive.

kickerz1638d ago Show
fanboybeatdown1637d ago

Not sure if the haters are serious or....?

IF you all believe that MS is the only one that does this and Sony does not do this, then... wow... i just don't know what to say.

Some of the people on here are so deluded.
Sony has done a masterful job of pulling the wool over your eyes.

Wake up, fanboys.

miyamoto1637d ago (Edited 1637d ago )

I hope people wake up sooner, open their eyes and see why M$ has done more evil than good to the home console video game industry Nintendo, Sega, Sony, SNK, Hudson, and tons of Japanese and Western developers etc. has built through the years.

M$ employees always thinks with their pockets not their brains.

ZodTheRipper1637d ago

^The only thing M$ brought to our industry is timed exclusive deals. With money that could be spend on game development. This company is cancer to creativity in every way and I hope their execs choke on the money from their Forza microtransactions.

Deeke1637d ago

Yeah when I saw it on Reddit I thought it was unfair, but when I dug a bit deeper I saw that it's quite appalling.

M$ needs to quit spending so much time in trying to get GOOD reviews and spend that time making a good product--then it'll speak for itself.

LordMaim1637d ago

@fanboybeatdown: If that were the case, don't you think that Knack would have been rated higher? Sony doesn't buy ratings. They don't have to.

GrizzliS19871637d ago

ladies and gentleman, this is surely indirect proof for every time you wondered why a garbage game can get such a high review score...especially when you know for a fact the game is garbage and the competition is better, yet has lower score..

paid off reviewers left and right :/

+ Show (16) more repliesLast reply 1637d ago
Evilsnuggle1638d ago ShowReplies(3)
mrpsychoticstalker1638d ago

There's nothing illegal about this practice.


For example in this article: It's all a crafty promotional trick called stealth marketing, an ethically dubious practice that has regained the spotlight with Friday's release of the film "The Joneses."

Hilarious movie

For companies who do it, the risks of stealth marketing outweigh the benefits, says Jonathan Margolis, CEO of the Michael Alan Group and co-author of "Guerrilla Marketing for Dummies."

"It might work if the product is good enough, but ultimately the consumer is being duped," he says. "It's risky to stage something that people think is a natural occurrence.

"There is a potential for backlash. Consumers don't like being deceived, and brands don't want to look bad."
There's nothing illegal about it, more and more companies are doing it without us the consumers knowing it.

H0RSE1638d ago (Edited 1638d ago )

It doesn't have to be illegal, just shady enough to make MS look bad, so they can point the finger and fuel their "typical MS" rhetoric... funny how so many gamers are so ethical these days, many of which are probably the same gamers that teabag players in MP matches, and talk s*** with the defense of, "it's all in good fun."

The kicker is, much of this "outrage" is taking place simply because it is MS. The company is in a rough situation right now, with many people still mad as hell over the DRM fiasco. If Sony did this exact thing, many may still be mad, but not nearly as much. For many, it would just result in a slap on the wrist for the company, or perhaps even a pass. In some cases, it's almost like people feel obligated to get extra pissed off at MS, even if they actually aren't that upset.

isa_scout1638d ago

If it is true then it could violate the FTCs rules and regulations...So yeah, there's always that.

ShinMaster1638d ago

""You may not say anything negative or disparaging about Machinima, Xbox One or any of its Games in your Campaign Video.""

They're paying people to positively promote the Xbox One in a dishonest way.

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Tctczach1638d ago

It's not illegal. And if you think it is you need to take a marketing class. If you don't think any other major corporations do this then you are so blind.

DragonKnight1638d ago

It is illegal, read the link I just posted above.

eferreira1638d ago

it is illegal if they cant say they're being paid about it.

HammadTheBeast1638d ago


It's illegal if they get caught and wrecked on media. I don't care about corporations, just calling others blind won't do much when there's one right here.

Tctczach1638d ago

Look more news keeps leaking out on this story and while it may be Microsoft's money, Machinima handled the NDAs and the promotion. So why isn't there an uproar on them? I know Microsoft is probably paying them to take the blame. But can we prove it? Probably not. So spread the hate. I know Microsoft is shady but just saying that proves doesn't prove anything.

Cueil1637d ago

the only thing illegal would be if the youtubers didn't state it as a promotional piece... that is all

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PSjesus1638d ago

That's why i respect Japanese companies they had the term (Honor)...that's why SEGA or Nintendo never tried this kind of shaddy and questionable methods even in their hardest times in the industry in fact Nintendo don't want their IPs represent unprofessionally by Yotubers scums,that's why they flagged many videos

Dehnus1637d ago (Edited 1637d ago )

You know SEGA has been started by an American right? And even to help American Troops entertain themselves away from home?

Oh and SONY tried to install Trojans on my computer for wanting to listen to a CD, they even tried to get rid of the CD standard because they wanted their new DRM TROJAN software to be the new standard. THis might be quite a few years ago, but Sony can be just as bad in these kind of activities as any western company.

Nintendo, much as I love them, where also known to have an iron grip on third party developers and where successfully challenged in court for their monopoly practises. Nintendo in the 80's and early 90's was not a nice company to face in a legal battle if you where a game developer.

So please.... MS does shit, but it's really nothing new. Let's not even begin about IBM and how they automated the Holocaust to utmost efficiency... and the less said about Henry Ford's NAZI years the better.

BallsEye1638d ago ShowReplies(5)
dale_denton1638d ago

desperate times over there eh M$?

givemeshelter1638d ago

You do realize that many companies practice his type of marketing also... Even Sony...

Sony Ericsson holds the distinction of having launched the most notorious stealth marketing campaign. When the company first came out with a camera phone in 2002, it hired actors in 10 cities to pretend to be tourists who would stop passersby and ask to have their photos taken.

Dee Dutta, Sony Ericsson's corporate vice president of global marketing, considered the fake tourist campaign a success due mostly to the media attention the stunt garnered from the likes of "60 Minutes" and "ABC News."

"For the kind of money we spend, these campaigns are very effective," he told CMO Magazine.

its_JEFF1638d ago (Edited 1638d ago )

uhh... I think what you described sounds is an ad campaign. Were they famous actors? Or were they just actors? What you described is whats usually called "gorilla marketing"

What would be valid is if: Those actors were very famous, like say Brad Pitt (IDK why I chose him) and he went around taking posting pics on Instagram and FaceBook and championing the new Sony phone while he was getting paid for it, but at the same time he or Sony never told anybody that he was their new spokesmen.

It's that deception that: he only likes the Sony phone because he's getting paid to say that he likes it.

Elit3Nick1638d ago Show
HardcoreGamer1638d ago (Edited 1638d ago )

man they even gave away tons of xbox ones every 2 minute with promotions and stuff, are these sales units?

the lies go on soo long, like pnnochios nose

reddx111638d ago

your every xboxone news ps4fan wtf do youeven have the ps4im starting to think you don't

Joey_Leone1638d ago

Kinda sad if you think about it.

Clunkyd1638d ago

This is called Blackhat Marketing. It's legal in most cases, but don't follow how marketing should be done and instead take shortcuts.

ITPython1638d ago

I wonder when it going to come out that MS paid a ton of people to get verified purchases on Amazon just to leave week one 1-star reviews for the PS4? (and also paid people to get verified purchases of the XB1 to leave 5 star reviews). Anybody who knows Amazon knows that you don't actually have to spend any money to get a verified purchase, and MS took full advantage.

I mean it was a pretty serious deal that got the attention of nearly every mainstream gaming news, and non-gaming news, to report on the so called high PS4 failure rate, which was actually fabricated. MS knew that Amazon likely got the biggest chunk of PS4's out of any company, so they knew it would be in the spotlight.

I bet Amazon wouldn't take so kindly to MS abusing it's review system, and I hope this scandal comes to surface soon. Bribing people on youtube to lie and say their product is awesome is one thing, but what MS did with amazon is a bit more serious as they were paying to sabotage the PS4 sales.

assdan1638d ago

It's not really illegal. It just makes them look pathetic and desperate.

showtimefolks1638d ago

MS why am i not surprised. Instead of paying for positive feedback how about look and paying attention to what gaming community wants and trying to achieve that

MS will stop supporting xbox one in few years just like they did with xbox360 to chase the casual crowd. Whole sony is laser focused on delivering the absolute best with ps4

also to all those that said sites are run by ps4 fanboys how is this slap on your face.

ITPython1637d ago

Exactly, MS is simply trying to compensate for their shortcomings in regards to a product that doesn't quite meet the gaming markets demands. Which is why it is advertised to infinity and beyond, and also why they were doing so many XB1 giveaways.

They know people don't want the console, but as you mentioned, rather than actually making a good product that people would desire, MS is trying to artificially create demand for the console. Essentially tricking people into wanting it using sleazy marketing tactics and bribes to get their way.

Kinect voice commands is also an excuse for a terrible UI, and likely why they are making it mandatory for every XB1 sale. So instead of making a good intuitive and easy to navigate UI, they just opted to make people use Kinect to navigate around because they were too lazy, or just didn't have it in them to make something decent out of Windows 8 type OS.

It's just amazing how badly MS failed this gen.

Edsword1637d ago

Once again MS endears itself to gamers.

Bobby Kotex1637d ago (Edited 1637d ago )

The douchebaggery aside, I can't believe Microsoft is stupid enough to do this and think it wouldn't get out.

malokevi1637d ago



+ Show (17) more repliesLast reply 1637d ago
BelkingOfSony1638d ago (Edited 1638d ago )

Microsoft loves to flash the cash.

Microsoft to game journos and bloggers - "i want you to advertise the xbox one as good and having no DRM"
Journos and bloggers - "no way, i'm not going to lie to millions of gamers who go to me first for my trusted unbiased reviews about your console, its not my fault you decided to go the entertainment route instead of catering for the gamer. however, if you show me a load of the green stuff, if ya know what i mean hehe..."

Charybdis1638d ago

With only $3,750 spend by Microsoft one has to wonder if they have other deals, it could be much bigger. $3,750 is not even a drop in the bucket for a Microsoft marketing budget.

pyramidshead1638d ago (Edited 1638d ago )

It's all fake, they're doing nothing wrong. XB1 is a great system with great launch games. A nice all in one entertainment system with a fantastic Kinect sensor.


*lol I guess these joke posts may be harmful to my bubble count*

Hicken1638d ago

Helps if you let people know it's sarcasm or something. After all, there are individuals in here that would say something like what you've written, and it WOULDN'T be a joke; they'd be dead-ass serious.

Who cares whether it's illegal or immoral or whatever? The company they like is doing it, so it's okay. Oh, and to try and make it not look quite so bad, here's another company doing something that's vaguely questionable, but isn't remotely the same.

That's what's happening right now. With this, and virtually every other misstep Microsoft or their studios make.

ThePope1638d ago

Yeah because companies only do things that are similar, never the same as big bad mean Microsoft. Sony would never be such a big dummy head.

Grow up. All companies do this type of sh**. It only works on the morons of the world so who cares.

On top of that, the One is great. Its not like they were asking them to say its one thing when its not.

LeCreuset1638d ago

Hey, Hicken. ThePope wants you to know all companies do this type of stuff, but only MS keeps getting nailed doing it.

ThePope1637d ago

"but only MS keeps getting nailed doing it"

Name some of the other times please. I love how the fan boys on this site think Sony only does what in the best interest of the consumer.

They do what's in the best interest of their pocket book.

MightyNoX1638d ago

Not to worry, PH. I've known your posts long enough to know you were joking even without the #XB1 tag

5eriously1638d ago

Bubble up for funny to compensate! (wink)

StifflerK1638d ago

Unfortunately 'Astro Turfing' is commonplace nowadays - most big companies do it.

thecowsaysmoo1638d ago (Edited 1638d ago )

I like the xbox one, but it is kind of wrong to essentially pay for reviews like this. Makes you wonder if they did this for xbox games.

nosferatuzodd1638d ago (Edited 1638d ago )

What do u think cough cough polygon cough
Microshaft is the dirtiest company I've known 100 million for the Scroogle add they've bin doing this since the80s ppl don't know it's not good microshaft is good at business why they have so much money is by lying cheating bullying and stealing ideas from smaller company's they were doing it for years to apple until apple out grew them
Microshaft is a plague in the gaming industry don't care who disagree with me I'm on a one man war with them since they ban me from live without no good reason I won't stop swinging lightning swords at them

ThePope1638d ago

Well written. I see the New Yorker in your future!