Microsoft and Machinima have issued a joint statement in response to concerns over paid Xbox One promotion through YouTube. For those unfamiliar, it was recently discovered that Machinima was offering its partners a $3 CPM bonus for videos positively promoting Xbox One. Apparently, this is nothing out of the ordinary as both companies defined it as "a typical marketing partnership to promote Xbox One in December."
Responding to concerns that the videos were blatantly biased, the companies assured gamers "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.”
The problem that people had is that this type of "stealth marketing" can result in consumers having difficulty determining what is independent comment on a product and what is paid promotional material. Of course, this is nothing new in the gaming industry as sites are often accused of giving inflated scores to games for advertising dollars. It's certainly a slippery slope and this discovery only leads to increased skepticism among consumers — rightfully so.