Microsoft could be in hot water over controversial Xbox One marketing deal

Microsoft xbox-one-machinimaand game video network Machinima are defending a recently discovered advertising arrangement between the companies, but experts say they could be facing extended trouble down the road.

Word of the partnership came out earlier this week via Ars Technica. According to leaked documents, well-known Machinima YouTube video creators were paid a bonus by Microsoft for highlighting the Xbox One in their video content. However, the terms of the agreement stipulated that Youtubers not disclose they were being paid to promote the console. In other words, they were getting paid to pimp the system but were told not to tell anybody — nor say anything untoward about the Xbox One.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

Gaming’s next legal hotbed

Privacy is fast becoming a legal hotbed, and while it’s something that’s certain to impact traditional game makers in one form or another, it’s mobile developers who are increasingly finding themselves in the crosshairs.

It’s an election year. And despite 2011’s historic Supreme Court ruling, you really didn’t think video games were going to be dropped from the political agenda, did you?

As predicted, privacy is fast becoming a legal hotbed — and while it’s something that’s certain to impact traditional game makers in one form or another, it’s mobile developers who are increasingly finding themselves in the crosshairs.

Read more at Gamasutra

In the Blogosphere: A Thin Ethical Line

The revelation of a marketing firm that claimed to be paying writers at high-profile online outlets to insert links to its client websites has dredged up old concerns about the ethical nature of some bloggers.

Gawker writer Hamilton Nolan shined the light on the company, which calls itself 43a, last week, posting a series of emails from what appears to be a company principal that offered up to $175 every time he linked to a site from one of their clients. In those notes, the 43a rep claimed to have worked with notable sites such as The Huffington Post and Business Insider, and had a client list that included Dell, Motorola Mobility and T-Mobile.


FTC eyes child privacy updates. What’s the impact on entertainment?

The FTC wants to make changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) that could have a significant impact on the entertainment industry.

The Commission has proposed several amendments to the privacy rules that are meant to protect kids under 13, the most notable of which is adding geolocation information to the definition of personal information.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog

The Money Making Game #10: The War on Games

We certainly have no problem getting caught up in the fun of playing games, but the people who create them have their pocketbooks to worry about, too. In this column, finance expert and GameSpy contributor Chris Morris guides you through the tricky corridors the gaming industry’s financial side, touching on big-time business decisions and how they matter to the common gamer.

After being subjected to political and legal attacks for years, the gaming industry got one hell of a shield last month as the U.S. Supreme Court definitively stated “Video games qualify for First Amendment protection.” It was cause for celebration — for investors, for developers, and for gamers. But it hardly meant that the attacks were over… or less dangerous. For several publishers, a new fight is already looming.

“I don’t think this puts an end to it, ” says Dan Offner, a partner with law firm Loeb & Loeb, who specializes in the video game industry. “It may put a pin in it for a short period of time, but I see the regulation of mature content with respect to minors as a hot-button issue for the Federal Trade Commission and the various state governments. It’s the end of round one, but round two is about to start [and] I don’t see the industry getting a big breather.”

Read more at Gamespy

Despite Ruling, Video Game Fight Is Far From Over

As the video game industry celebrates Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which formally recognized video games as entitled to First Amendment protection, many are assuming the political fight that has loomed over the industry for years is finally over.

That’s wrong. In fact, it’s simply the start of Act 2.


FTC plans to review in-app purchases

It’s not often that the Smurfs can trigger an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.

Amid stories of parents being shocked to see their children inadvertently racking up huge bills while innocently playing apps like Smurfs’ Village (a Farmville-like game centering on the little blue folk), the FTC reportedly plans to review the marketing and delivery of apps that include in-app purchases.

Read more at Yahoo! Games