In order to encourage increased transparency for its customers, Electronic Arts has established new rules requiring streamers and other "influencers" to use special labels to indicate supported or promotional content. "Gamers and viewers must be able to see whether they are independent and editorial content, supported placements of messages, or advertising," EA said in an announcement posted on its German site (Google translated), and while most streamers already do this, there are still a few who don't.
"Any YouTuber, streamer or otherwise active influencer, who enters into a collaboration with Electronic Arts in their content creation and does not yet use their own labeling system, is now requested to use our Hashtags and Watermarks," EA said. There will be two hashtag/watermark combos:
- #supportedbyEA: Covers all content that EA has supported, such as through invitations to events or shows, or the coverage of travel expenses. EA will have no direct influence over the creation of this content, however.
- #advertisement: Actual advertising, covering "content that EA could have editorial influence over or content that EA itself has created."
For text and image-based content, such as on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, the hashtags must be placed directly in the message, while in video or streamed content, the watermark has to be displayed, or EA's involvement "explicitly mentioned," at the beginning of the video.
"All the activities of EA are under the motto 'Players First,' which means that we take the concerns and concerns of players and fans seriously at all times and react to them," EA wrote. "We want to create transparency with the markings and help to ensure that supported content and advertising are immediately identifiable as such."
Even though the announcement is only available in German (for now, anyway), an EA rep confirmed that the guidelines apply across the board. "Rules may vary slightly by region, but we want to ensure our players are aware when content is sponsored," the rep said. It's a good move, and good for business, too: 2016 hasn't been an especially good year for disclosure on the 'Tubes, and with a clear warning already given to Warner Bros. Interactive about such things earlier this year, the FTC might be in the mood to get a whole lot heavier with the next offender.