These days, it's not enough to read a video game review in a magazine. Many people will either look up a “Let's Play” of a game they're thinking of buying or even hear of these games for the first time from the gamers they watch on YouTube. This week, YouTube sent out a wave of strikes against members of the gaming community, many of whom make their living from the social media platform.
It has been widely recognized that videos such as the ones on Polaris and Machinima provide invaluable free advertising, whether for indie companies like Mojang (Minecraft) or MMORPG giants like Blizzard Entertainment (World of Warcraft). Blizzard has already come out in support of their community, Tweeting: “If you're a YouTuber and are receiving content matches with the new changes, please be sure to contest them so we can quickly approve them.”
These “content matches” refer to YouTube's new system of identifying content belonging to someone other than the video's uploader. It appears that the system has somehow begun generating these claims, sometimes for companies who are no longer in business or have nothing to do with the video. While there are conflicting reports as to whether these strikes will count against the channels' creators, the bottom line is that the revenue for those videos is being diverted.
Several of the video makers such as Boogie2988 have posted responses to this “copyrightalypse.” In his video, Boogie expresses that the future of his livelihood may be in smaller game studios:
The people who make it to the top in YouTube. We all have one thing in common. We know how to adapt. We know how to endure, and right now we are playing the big blockbuster games that you designed, and if you don't let us, tomorrow we will play someone else's.
Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that there are even videos almost defending YouTube for this decision. MundaneMatt believes that the Multi-Channel Networks are not doing enough to work with contributors and the new Content ID system. Still, this incident illuminates the serious problems with YouTube's reporting system where community members are guilty until proven innocent.
This afternoon, Forbes updated their list of the companies who have made public statements encouraging the gaming community on YouTube: Blizzard, Deep Silver, Capcom, Unisoft and Paradox Interactive. Follow Paul Tassi on Twitter for future updates to this list. Follow Allie on Twitter for geek news and reviews.