For many video game companies, YouTube and Twitch creators serve as effective brand spokespeople. Some game developers and publishers can attribute millions of dollars in sales to the word-of-mouth publicity generated by Let’s Play videos. Brian Hicks, producer of the best-selling game DayZ, once said “YouTube and Twitch are the entire force behind DayZ‘s success.”

The bottom line: Influencer marketing is a huge deal in the gaming industry. But how does it work? That was the question Kotaku decided to answer when it participated in an influencing marketing campaign for a pair of video games.

The gaming publication began its journey into the world of influencer marketing when it was approached by Reelio, a company that specializes in digital marketing. Reelio invited Kotaku to promote a pair of games, Neverwinter and Star Trek Online, both of which are published by Perfect World. Its offer was $120 plus additional compensation for any successful signups Kotaku brings to the Perfect World website.

Kotaku accepted these terms, and Reelio proceeded to send along a list of guidelines for the ensuing video. Some of them are straightforward; creators are asked to mention specific selling points, conclude with calls to actions, and disclose the sponsored nature of their videos. Other terms are more intriguing; the mention of competing games is prohibited, and creators are invited to “gently poke fun at” the games they are promoting.

For creators who have worked with video game companies, Kotaku’s article probably won’t reveal any new information. Viewers, however, can learn a lot about the relationship between brand sponsors and digital influencers. If you fall into the latter group, the “investigation” is worth reading.

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