YouTube lightens up about videogame violence

Content restrictions on violent gaming content are changing

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YouTube’s ever-changing content and advertising guidelines have taken creators on numerous rides over the past several years, but the latest changes sound like they’ll offer a bit more freedom to folks who focus on violent titles. Starting today, YouTube’s community guidelines will treat videogame violence the same as other scripted violence – though there have been no changes to the existing, separate guidelines for what’s ‘advertiser-friendly.’

In short, YouTube says that these changes will make videogame violence more likely to be approved, and less likely to be age-restricted. The exception is if you’ve got a video that’s exclusively about gore and violence, so your compilation of Mortal Kombat fatalities or gnarly headshots in FPS games are still likely to be age-restricted.

The revised guidelines are basically in line with the existing advertiser-friendly recommendations, which say that “violence in the normal course of video gameplay is generally acceptable for advertising, but montages where gratuitous violence is the focal point is not” – though that standard has been somewhat erratically enforced.

“There will be fewer restrictions for violence in gaming,” YouTube says, “but this policy will still maintain our high bar to protect audiences from real-world violence.”