Recently, a bit of controversy has started up about YouTube’s new ‘advertiser friendly content’ rules. Basically, they’re a list of things that are seen as ‘inappropriate’ for monetisation.
They’re bad. Bad enough that just about every big channel on the site has complained about them and said that enforcing them will kill YouTube. Seriously, Gaijin Goomba may have said it best here:
Honestly, if YouTube enforced even HALF of their own guidelines they'd be broke in a year. pic.twitter.com/Zn2v3NLGPW
— Gaijin Goombah (@GaijinGoombah) August 31, 2016
But while they’re bad for most people in general, the rules are worst for one specific group above all others. Namely, gamers and gaming fans in general.
Why is this?
Because by definition, they make it a risk to post gaming content on YouTube.
This is because every one of these points is dangerous for gaming videos. For example, take the point about ‘sexually suggestive’ content. The one about ‘partial nudity’ and ‘sexual humour’. What can that easily describe?
Oh wait, a lot of video games. Dead or Alive is the obvious one, and the VR demo footage makes this even more apparent. As is the entire Leisure Suit Larry series, or any other gaming franchises that focus around adult humour and a character spending the entire game trying to get laid. And that’s just the start of it. What about games like GTA, where some games are shown in a sexual way in some situations (like say, the strip clubs)? How about a typical racing game where attractive women are shown next to the cars at the start or end of the race? The list just goes on and on.
The point about violence is even worse here. Why? Because a very large portion of triple A titles (and a lot of indie ones for that matter) are ultraviolent. Call of Duty, Battlefield and other war based games are violent as all hell and feature you tearing enemies apart left, right and centre. Games like Doom and Wolfenstein can be violent as all hell (even more so with mods like ‘Brutal Doom’). Some fighting games (like Mortal Kombat) basically sell themselves on their violence and fatalities, yet feature engaging, interesting gameplay that people might want to show in a video. Games like Manhunt, Hatred and Mad World are literally all about causing as much death and destruction as possible, and are obvious violent as heck to boot. Hell, even Mario fan games can be violent when they need to be! Something like Super Mario World Dark Horizon is about Mario fighting Nazis and Jihadists across the real world and Mushroom Kingdom:
And trying to crack down on ‘offensive language’ is even worse. Why? Because again, a lot of M rated games have ‘offensive language’ in them by default. Do you think something like GTA IV purely uses E rated language and no swear words? Didn’t think so.
And that’s pretty mild compared to some uses of such language. Conker’s Bad Fur Day is full of swearing (outside of the extremely censored Xbox version). But that’s a great game, and one that a lot of people would want to watch Let’s Plays and reviews of.
Talking of Let’s Plays and reviews… how many popular YouTube channels do you know where the creator doesn’t ever swear?
Very few I’d imagine. Indeed, some of the biggest names in gaming video making have being a caustic critic and swearing at everything as their main ‘gimmick’. Like the Angry Video Game Nerd, who’s well known enough to have two video games and a movie:
Or the people at Channel Awesome, who review bad films, TV shows, games, comics and other media. Do you really want to stop the Nostalgia Critic from using YouTube?
And the list goes on and on. The Yogscast has some swearing. Game Grumps has some. Angry Joe has that as part of his ‘character’ like the Angry Video Game Nerd does.
Heck, even when people don’t want to swear or use ‘vulgar language’ it’s sometimes inevitable. Like when they’re playing a terribly designed game which is so ridiculous difficult they keep dying at the same jump for hours on end. Who hasn’t shouted out in anger when Mario smashes into an invisible coin block and falls in a pit? Or suddenly, an off screen sniper has just blown your character’s head off? Or that Blue Shell smacked into you seconds away from the finish line?
By trying to get rid of sexual content, violence and inappropriate language alone, YouTube has basically made it impossible to Let’s Play, review or stream games with above a T rating. And given how many games that is… that’s insane.
Promotion of drugs isn’t really relevant here, though I guess it may be an issue for certain games with that as a ‘gimmick’ (like say, Bioshock). Or maybe the crappy reboot of NARC.
But then we get into the really ridiculous, insulting stuff.
Namely, the talk about not being able to monetise ‘controversial’ or ‘sensitive’ subjects. Like those related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, etc. Even if ‘graphic imagery isn’t shown’.
This is absolutely insane, even in the gaming world.
Why? Well for one thing, it pretty much kills real journalism on YouTube altogether. I mean, what’s a political conflict?
Because if it’s what I think it is, then that covers everything from the Brexit to the US presidential election to the situation in the middle east to a whole lot of stuff on the BBC or CNN or Sky News or ITV or whatever else.
And as bad as it for the news media, it 100% affects gamers too. Don’t know why? Well, do you remember the CS:GO Lotto controversy?
How about all the talk around GamerGate?
Maybe Alison Rapp’s firing from Nintendo over her comments on age of consent laws?
Lots of things in gaming count as political conflicts. And if these rules are to be believed, they make your channel unable to monetise videos. How great for journalists YouTube! If they’re already struggling enough with AdBlock and low wages and poor conditions, now even their chances of gaining fiscal independence via YouTube are quickly fading away.
The war and tragedy aspect is poor too. Oh, so if a game is based on a real life war, the videos of it might not be monetisable? Okay. And tragedies? That’s not very fair either. What if you’re trying to defend video games against a media and political system that likes to blame them for everything? We’ve seen tons of cases where ill informed morons have blamed ‘violent’ games for terrorist attacks and mass shootings. All the way to back to Colombine and before. Is defending them now something you can’t monetise either? Because it’s talking about a tragedy?
Don’t even bother playing this on YouTube…
Oh, and that’s only the problems caused by the rules themselves. Remember, there’s a very scary line on that page which makes thing much worse:
includes, but is not limited to:
In other words, YouTube can decide any of your videos is not advertiser friendly for any reason (or non reason) they want, and they often won’t even let you dispute this. So if your videos ‘offend’ anyone at YouTube or Google, then they can pretty much kill your livelihood there and then without you being able to do a damn thing about it.
And well, if they’re anything like Twitter, Reddit or any other social networks… it’s a matter of when this happens, not if. Hope you didn’t annoy someone with SJW tendencies, because that could be the end of your YouTube career there and then.
So yeah, if you’re a gamer and want to start a channel on YouTube… don’t. The rules for ‘advertiser friendly’ content are terrible and potentially dangerous for your channel and future career. Find another video hosting site (or better yet, post them on your own site) and go from there. It is simply too risky to use YouTube as a creator at this point in time.
For the non video making gamers out there? Again, don’t use YouTube wherever possible. If your favourite video makers go elsewhere, follow them there and like and comment on the videos on the new site. If they don’t (but have a Patreon), subscribe to that instead and give them your support directly. Don’t let YouTube survive this, not until they come out, apologise for the stupid new ‘guidelines’ and change the platform to be more friendly to gamers and gaming channel owners.
YouTube is now bad for gamers. It’s time we let them know that the hard way.