Last month, YouTube announced updates to its content moderation policies that would roll out before the end of December. Content creators, particularly in gaming, are reporting increased rates of demonetization suggesting these changes are in effect.

The Advertiser Friendly Guidelines focus on giving creators greater transparency into how videos are evaluated for demonetization on topics such as inappropriate language and violence. YouTube provided a specific list for gaming content creators. As a result, the policy seems to be taking issue with violence depicted in video games more broadly.

While many games will be fine (if creators abide by all other restrictions), many games are unlikely to be monetized at all. For example, videos will not be eligible for monetization if they include “graphic dead bodies in a non-educational video” or “ultra graphic violent acts (including those involving law enforcement) and injuries.”

Many creators reported that videos featuring gameplay from The Callisto Protocol were demonetized. This massive change will disincentive creators from playing games that are too questionable. Otherwise, they risk not getting paid by YouTube for their time. YouTube and its creators are a major marketing channel for gaming companies. Developers may choose to tone down violent content for upcoming titles as a result. Additionally, this could dramatically impact certain esports such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.


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This policy change also applies to creators’ back catalogs. This means that the passive income earned by certain creators could be dramatically reduced overnight.

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