HomeArchiveShadow of Mordor's shady, controversial brand deal: A closer look

Shadow of Mordor’s shady, controversial brand deal: A closer look

With the immensely successful release of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor early last week, the game has been widely well-received by gamers and critics around the world. However, the Lord of the Rings-inspired open-world action-RPG has not been absent of controversy.

Prior to the Shadow of Mordor‘s release, prominent YouTuber, TotalBiscuit, revealed that reviewers who did not accept a paid brand deal from the game’s public relations firm, Plaid Social (who are notorious for their sleazy brand deals promoting general sponsorship over independent critical analysis), were unable to receive a PC review copy of the Shadow of Mordor.

Furthermore, YouTubers that did not accept the brand deal who uploaded videos of Shadow of Mordor were hit with DMCA claims, and subsequently shut down due to being tagged by the site’s Content ID system, all the while those that did accept it were exempt.

Jim Sterling of The Escapist was able to get his hands on a copy of the contract regarding the aforementioned Shadow of Mordor paid brand deal. What he discovered was shady indeed.

Read more details about Shadow of Mordor‘s paid brand deal after the break.

Shadow of Mordor‘s Shady Brand Deal

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor DMCA WB Games Youtube


Jim Sterling discovered the following excerpts/statements within the paid brand deal contract:

“Maximize awareness for the Shadow of Mordor video game during the ‘Week of Vengeance’ through gameplay content, keybrand messaging, and information and and talent usage on Twitch channels. Persuade viewers to purchase game, catch the attention of casual and core gamers who already know and love Middle-earth.”

“Requirements involve 1 livestream, 1 YouTube video, and 1 Facebook post/tweet in support of the videos. Videos will have a strong verbal call to action, a clickable link in the description box for the viewer to go to the game’s website to learn more about the game to learn how to register and play the game. Twitch stream videos will have 5 calls to action. Videos will be of sufficient length to feature gameplay and build excitement.”

“Videos will promote positive sentiment about the game. Videos must not show bugs or glitches that may exist. Videos must include discussion of the story of the game (do NOT mention Lord of the Rings or Hobbit movies, characters, or books). “

“Videos must include discussion of the Nemesis System. This really should take up the bulk of the focus, such as how different the orcs are, how vivid their personality and dialogue are, gathering intel and domination abilities, exploiting their strengths and weaknesses. Videos must include discussion of the action and combat that takes place within the game, such as brutal finishers, execution moves, and wraith powers. The company has final approval on the YouTube video…at least 48 hours before any video goes live.”


Since YouTube is already such a huge influence on gaming and video game output, what are your thoughts on game publishers and public relation firms’ shameless exploitation of the platform when it comes to video games media?

What do you think of the content found within Shadow of Mordor‘s paid brand deal? How do you feel about it?

Let us know in the comments section below! As always, stay tuned to GamerHeadlines.com for the latest in video game and technology news.


Source: Jim Sterling’s Jimquisition’s video – “Shadiness of Mordor”

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