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A new online retailer launched this week that aims to sell one game per day at a discount price, with help from one or more "influencers" who will promote the game on platforms like Twitch and YouTube -- in return for a cut of the proceeds.
The new platform launched on Monday as Chrono.gg, and it's intriguing to see a new storefront debut with a business model predicated on tapping the boosting power (or "PewDiePie effect") popular YouTubers can exert on game sales.
"These influencers have grown to be one of the driving forces behind sales and success for many games. And yet they typically don't see a dime of any sales they drive," Chrono.gg CEO Justin Sacks told Gamasutra this week via email, noting that it can also be expensive or time-consuming for a developer to organize a marketing drive with influencers. "We wanted to provide a platform that helped both sides."
Chrono.gg works by offering a single game for sale every day, at 9 AM Pacific, with influencer partners driving their audiences to that sale by, say, promoting it on Twitter or playing the game on Twitch and telling viewers to buy it through Chrono. Details on their cut of the sale revenue are hazy; Sacks tells Gamasutra it varies depending on the deal, but claims that Chrono aims to take between 10-15 percent for itself and give a majority of the sales revenue to the game's developer or publisher. The rest is paid to the influencer(s).
That compensation seems likely to fall within the Federal Trade Commssion's strict disclosure guidelines for YouTubers who are paid to promote or recommend games. And, indeed, some of the inaugural Chrono.gg influencers have been upfront (at least on Twitter) about their partnership with the storefront and the fact that it supports them financially.
However, when asked by Gamasutra about whether or not Chrono.gg has disclosure guidelines in place for its influencer partners, Sacks noted that he hadn't looked into the matter enough to know whether or not Chrono.gg has a legal responsibility to enforce disclosure but that "we're all about transparency."
"I always encourage it, even if the sponsored deal/ad has nothing to do with my business," wrote Sacks. "I honestly believe that being up front with sponsored content/promotions/ads only encourages conversion - and is the right thing to do."