Conan O’Brien’s Clueless Gamer segments quickly became a viral hit last year, with videos of his humorous playthroughs and (not) reviews receiving millions of views each online. That’s significant coverage, and it’s clear some game companies have taken advantage of the substantial new audience by getting their titles featured in it.
Apparently, for some, this hasn’t come cheap.
One of my favorite segments has been the Halloween special, where Conan played Slender: The Eight Pages, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and Outlast. His thoughts on the first two weren’t overwhelmingly positive, but when he got to Outlast, he played it longer and called it “fantastic.” Re/Code reports that it cost Outlast developer Red Barrels $35,000 to be included in the segment.
Re/Code contacted Stephanie Palermo, account executive at Red Barrels’ PR firm TriplePoint, for confirmation. “When the producers showed interest in the potential entertainment value for their viewers that we presented, they came back to us saying that they would like to have Conan try the game for himself,” Palermo said in an email. “But they, of course, like most TV media aren’t going to give you those viewers for free.”
$35,000 sounds like a lot for a modestly sized indie developer, but it sounds like Red Barrels was charged less than other studios, possibly because it wasn’t the only game being featured in that specific segment.
The report goes on to confirm that many other developers whose games have been featured in Clueless Gamer didn’t pay for the inclusion. Some of those free “reviews” were negative, with Conan poking fun at the games. That sounds like the studios have to pay for favorable comments on their games, but Palermo said that isn’t the case with Outlast.
“The clip that aired was the first time he was exposed to it, with no background on the game before seeing it.”
For the full report, head on over to Re/Code.