Microsoft Studios allows 'Let's Play' video creators to make money with its titles

Microsoft Studios now has a formal policy for YouTube and Twitch "Let's Play" video creators to use when they want to feature the company's titles in their streaming or video clips. In very basic terms, the new rules do allow those creators to make money off of videos based on Microsoft Studios titles, such as the upcoming Halo 5: Guardians for the Xbox One, but with some restrictions.

Here's the big change in the policy: "You may make your Item available on YouTube or Twitch and participate in programs on those sites that allow you to earn revenue from ads displayed in connection with your Item." This applies to all of the games developed and published by Microsoft Studios except for Minecraft, which actually has its own set of rules for Let's Play videos as established by Minecraft developer Mojang.

However, there are a number of restrictions that YouTube and Twitch video makers have to adhere to as well. For example, the video cannot be accessible via a paid subscription service, nor on an paid or subscription-based app. The game's title can't be used the video's title, either. The game itself cannot be modified and then filmed.

Finally, Microsoft won't allow the video to contain anything that it considers to be "objectionable." It states, "Whether an Item is 'objectionable' is up to us, but you can expect us to be concerned if a significant number of people in the game's community or the public at large report the content as offensive."

Alright, people, get out there and make your Halo and Sunset Overdrive videos. But don't break those rules.

Source: Xbox (opens in new tab); via: Game Informer

John Callaham
  • Good one, Microsoft!
  • The video title can't use the game's name? Am I misinterpreting this?
  • That's what it says, bit weird though. I thought it might be your title cant just be the name of the game but it actually says you can't have "Halo [insert custom title here]" which isn't great. You also cant use game graphics / logos as your logo. I understand they don't want any confusion that it could be an official video but its a bit limiting.
  • I'm wondering the same. Let's Play "Olah 5"?!
  • loooooooooool +2010...... oh sorry I meant +1020
  • Is this for Windows 10 mobile preview?
  • Looks like it!
  • I'm scared of getting it! It says that I might not be able to make calls, etc...
  • Wow what's this??
  • Try it!
  • What's a Microsoft domain account?.. I cant seem to log in with my live account
  • Says more info on the 21st
  • So is that why rvb has been in limbo on ms platforms?
  • They've been making videos still. Just have to wait a few months for the next season
  • They've went from season 9 on waypoint to season 12 on halo channel wonder why there was no 10 11
  • Oh, well I watched it straight from rooster teeth
  • Lets Plays are already covered under fair use so technically Microsoft isn't "allowing" anything.
  • Wow...  You are completely wrong.  Gameplay videos are copyright infringements.  Nintendo put a stop to it. Sites like Vimeo forbid any posting of gameplay videos.  Youtube turns a blind eye but if someone complains, Youtube will block monetization of the video. Right now, all the big companies are doing a wait and see before dropping the hammer, if they ever do.  No one wants to be the big bad guy that takes away gameplay videos.  Nintendo did and got a big backlash.  Then again, EA, Activision, Nintendo, etc. taking away potential revenue (they'd rather have you watch videos through officially sponsored venues like eSports, Nintendo channel, etc.).
  • Oh, geez.  I love how someone says something correct, and then someone comes back with "well this company bans it, so it is illegal".  Ugh. Vimeo is a tiny little chickenshit operation compared to YouTube.  They don't want to pay the staff to deal with the game companies.  Lawyers send unenforcable takedown notices all the time, to any number of entitites.  Chickenshit companies have no lawyers on staff to verify that takedown notices are unenforcable.  Google is larger than all the game companies (even sometimes Microsoft, depending on the month), so they have lawyers for DAYZ that know when companies have a legal complaint or not. That's why YouTube takes a dump on Vimeo, and Vimeo will always be the a VEVO knockoff with basically no user created content, while YouTube makes people into millionaires.   Speaking of Google, make yourself aware of its existence before you post dumb shit on the interent.  It took me all of 3 seconds to type "copyright fair use" in the address bar.
  • I wonder how this applies to machinima with an older game made by Lionhead Studios but now owned by Microsoft: The Movies.
  • If you don't mention the name of the game, I think nothing.
  • Cant sign in for some reason
  • People do it anyway. Uploading videos without ingame music is fair use
  • that's not correct.  it's not fair use if you exclude the game music.  The reason why people exclude the in-game music is because that's what sites like Youtube use to scan the video for copyright material.  It's much easier to identify music than it is to identify video, especially since people modify the video (i.e., put a watermark or put a window showing the gamer playing the game).  They remove the music so that the video hopefully slips by the copyright scanners. Another trick people will do to get videos by the copyright scanners is to mirror the video too.  You may have seen videos that do that.