A new survey released by Gamasutra reveals a disturbing fact about YouTube gaming personalities; of those who participated in a survey, around 26 percent admitted that they had taken money directly or indirectly to promote a game or brand from a publisher.
In a survey carried out by Gamasutra, 141 YouTubers were asked a number of questions regarding the ethics of YouTube video game criticism. Of those interviewed, 30 percent (42 people) had over 5000 subscribers to their channel. Of these 42 people, 11 (26 percent) 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."
Only two percent of YouTubers who had less than 5000 subscribers said they took money from a publisher.
Around 40 percent of those respondents with more than 5,000 subscribers said they thought the idea of publishers and developers paying for video coverage was perfectly acceptable, though some added it should be conditional that such compensation should be disclosed within the video.
"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 monetize, 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."
But not all respondents thought that taking money was the right thing to do. One said such practices should be "avoided like the plague." Another said taking money is going a "bit too far."
"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," said one YouTuber. "It feeds dishonesty."
You can check out Gamasutra's survey here.