YouTube will no longer punish pro gamers for playing violent games like 'Mortal Kombat'

‘Mortal Kombat 11’/NetherRealm StudiosPlaying violent games like ‘Mortal Kombat 11’ has been risky business for professional YouTubers.
  • YouTube is changing its policies to make it easier for content creators to make money from violent video game content.
  • Previously, videos featuring violent games would be age-restricted. This would prevent those videos from appearing in search results in some cases, and occasionally YouTube would prevent creators from monetising violent gaming videos with ads.
  • Starting this week, violent video games will be treated in the same manner as scripted movies and TV shows. Some violent content will still be age-restricted, but creators wont have to worry about their videos being flagged or demonetised.
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YouTube announced on Monday a policy change impacting videos that feature violent video games, giving creators more freedom to post those videos with fewer restrictions. Until now, YouTube has been policing violent video game content under stricter guidelines than scripted movies and TV shows.

Violent video game videos were frequently age-restricted by YouTube and, in some cases, YouTube prevented creators from running ads to earn money from videos that featured violent games. That made gory games like “Mortal Kombat 11” risky business for major gaming channels on YouTube, regardless of how popular the game may be.

Major YouTube creators raised complaints after spending dozens of hours playing games like “Mortal Kombat” and producing videos only to find out that they can’t earn money from their work due to the violent content.

“We’ve heard loud and clear that our policies need to differentiate between real-world vs. simulated violence, and we’re updating our enforcement to reflect that,” YouTube said in a tweet announcing the policy change.

The language of the change is somewhat vague – YouTube says “Future gaming uploads that include scripted or simulated violence may be approved instead of being age-restricted.” The policy change should mean that gaming videos wont be held to the same strict criteria, but YouTube will still be keeping an eye to ensure that young users are protected from overly excessive or life-like violence.

“We may still age-restrict content if violent or gory imagery is the sole focus of the video. For instance, if the video focuses entirely on the most graphically violent part of a video game,” YouTube’s policy update says. YouTube also said videos with extreme violence could still be made ineligible for ads based on the platform’s guidelines for advertiser-friendly videos.

The new policy for violent video game content went into effect on December 2, and so far creators have been appreciative of YouTube’s decision to loosen the restrictions. The platform is often at odds with creators, but this policy change will help gamers on YouTube continue to make money off of their games of choice.

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