YouTube Loosens Restrictions on Violence in Game-Related Video Content

Google have announced that video game violence does not violate YouTube’s terms of service.

While YouTube’s terms of service does state “violent or gory content intended to shock or disgust viewers, or content encouraging others to commit violent acts are not allowed on YouTube,” a recent update on December 2nd has given some leeway to video game content.

We know there’s a difference between real-world violence and scripted or simulated violence – such as what you see in movies, TV shows, or video games – so we want to make sure we’re enforcing our violent or graphic content policies consistently.

Starting on 12/2, scripted or simulated violent content found in video games will be treated the same as other types of scripted content.

What does this mean for Gaming Creators?

  • Future gaming uploads that include scripted or simulated violence may be approved instead of being age-restricted.
  • There will be fewer restrictions for violence in gaming, but this policy will still maintain our high bar to protect audiences from real-world 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.

The last statement does raise the question about games that are intentionally hyper-violent, or content edited to show that- for example, a highlight reel of fatalities from Mortal Kombat.

YouTube and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently under fire for implementing COPPA on January 1st 2020, in a way that forces YouTube users to categorize all past and future content as “kid appropriate” or not. This is made worse by content in the “kid appropriate” content being less profitable, that YouTube can override the decision based on various factors, that YouTubers can be fined up to $42,000 per offending video, and that the YouTube Kids app already exists.

In addition, on December 10th YouTube will begin suspending accounts that are “no longer commercially viable.” Much like with COPPA, the vagueness of the terms have made many users uneasy.

The argument about violent video games has also seemingly been ended, as a “definitive” study by Oxford University has declared “no link” between violent video games and violent teens.



Ryan was a former Niche Gamer contributor.