YouTube’s new video game content policy prohibits ads in videos featuring “gratuitous violence”

So, that rules out… what? Like, everything. Actually not so much, but here’s the obligatory outrage about censorship and the thought police and an inevitably sanitised dystopian future and what next, banning video games, for those people who won’t finish reading this article anyway. Published sometime last week, YouTube’s new “advertiser-friendly content guidelines” (BUT NOT CONSUMER-FRIENDLY, WHAT NEXT, BANNING CONSUMERS) requires that videos must comply with a number of rules to be eligible for advertising revenue on the service, and which excludes content that is “adult, violent or advocating racial intolerance” without a compelling reason.

That “compelling reason” is the important thing, though. According to YouTube:

Video content where the focal point is on blood, violence, or injury, when presented without additional context, is not eligible for advertising. 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.

Talking to Polygon, the company has clarified that this new policy shouldn’t affect let’s play and livestream video formats, and presumably also tutorials and walkthroughs and such, but a video montage of kills in a game like Call of Duty, for example, might be restricted.

“There is understandable concern from creators about what they can and can’t do,” a rep explained. “The biggest complaint from creators is that these five guidelines don’t give [them] enough context for producing videos. The new guidelines were designed to help with that.”

Also on the list is content featuring “inappropriate use of family entertainment characters”. I want to ask if that’s seriously even a thing, but you know what? I don’t need to.

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