Cyprus-based video game developer Gaijin Entertainment reportedly is funding pro-Russian rebels, terrorist groups in Ukraine through embedded third-party sponsorships and ads in YouTube content.
The story was first reported by MIL.IN.UA, which noticed Gaijin’s sponsored videos at the Krupnokalibernyy Perepolokh (Large-bore Mayhem) Youtube channel with the advertisement of «War Thunder» and «Crossout» games.
The Krupnokalibernyy Perepolokh’s channel is all about range shooting, reloading ammunition, and testing seized Ukrainian combat vehicles and weapons in real world conditions.
The channel shows videos of illegal testing of various weapons that Russia supplies to its occupying forces in the occupied part of Ukraine.
In addition, the blogger released a video with an evaluation of banned by PMN-2 mine by the Ottawa Convention or the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty, which could only get to the territory of Donbas from Russia.
The author of the channel does not even hide that they make some of the content with the support of such well-known brands as “War Thunder” and “Crossout”, while the logos of these games were applied to concrete blocks and vehicles at the military range in self-styled “Donetsk People’s Republic” in eastern Ukraine.
It is estimated that advertising can generate $8 for every 1,000 views, with the most viewed material racking up half a million hits. Moreover, it is known that sponsored content can bring in about $7,000 per brand integration.
Furthermore, the content itself violates a number of the rules of YouTube itself, break company rules, and have a zero-tolerance policy for content that incites violence or hatred.
The Gaijin Entertainment could not confirm or refute the details of the Mil.in.ua’s media report.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include a comment by The War Thunder Team:
Regarding the allegations of “Funding Terrorism” that came up over the weekend, we want to take this opportunity to clarify some things regarding the channel in question, and how our sponsorships work.
Apart from a handful of extremely big channels, we do not directly sponsor YouTuber channels. We either pay YouTube themselves for ad placements, or hire advertisement agencies to organize worldwide advertisements in bulk. We assume that YouTube channels with a long history and hundreds of thousands of subscribers have been checked by YouTube moderation for any sort of illegal activity.
We do not endorse any political views anywhere, and prefer to stay out of the matter. The advertisement agency that arranged for an Ad in the respective channel’s videos has requested for the videos to be taken down when they realized that they might drag us into political discussion.
This is the nature of online advertisement. It is impossible for us to do a deep background check of every single channel that is presented to us by advertisement agencies. This is also shown in the fact that many other well known brands have had Ad placements on various videos of the channel in question, which has apparently never caused any issues before.
We want to thank you for your patience in awaiting for an official response, and hope for everyone to have a great start to the year.
The War Thunder Team