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Violent game montages face demonetisation on YouTube

Let's Plays and livestreams are on safe ground, but "montages where gratuitous violence is the focal point" are not

YouTube videos featuring montages of violence from video games now run the risk of demonetisation.

Speaking to Polygon, a representative from YouTube said that popular video formats like livestreams and Let's Plays will not encounter any problems with demonetisation. However, montages that focus on acts of gratuitous violence or death might transgress the online platform's new, more stringent guidelines.

The representative admitted "understandable concern from creators about what they can and can't do," and that "the biggest complaint from creators is that these five guidelines don't give [them] enough context for producing videos."

YouTube's "advertiser-friendly" guidelines now offer greater clarity than before on use of violent images. On the specific subject of game violence, YouTube says this: "Violence in the normal course of video gameplay is generally acceptable for advertising, but montages where gratuitous violence is the focal point is not. If you're showing violent content in a news, educational, artistic, or documentary context, that additional context is important."

These changes follow a blog post last week in which the company described new guidelines around content suitable for advertising, in which three areas were highlighted as particular causes for concern: hateful content, incendiary and demeaning content, and inappropriate use of family entertainment characters.

In February this year, Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg was accused of creating anti-semitic video content; an allegation he denied, but one that ultimately led to his being dropped by Maker Studios and removed from YouTube's "preferred advertiser" platform.

The following month, YouTube faced an advertiser walkout after it was discovered that advertising had been placed alongside videos that would comfortably fit in the "hateful content" and "incendiary and demeaning content" categories. The company quickly pledged to improve its "brand safety controls," a process that Kjellberg later spoke out against for drastically reducing the amount of revenue creators were making on the platform.

"The reason people love YouTube is that it's free, it's open and you can say what you want. It's not like television," Kjellberg said in a video. "But it seems like YouTube is being forced to turn into television at this point. That's going to be bad for everyone."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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