Xbox Updates Rules For Streaming, Let’s Playing Their Games


While the jury is still out on Xbox games making an appearance on sponsored FGC or Evo streams, Xbox’s Major Nelson has clarified the company’s recent stance on games content usage for regular Let’s Play or Twitch streaming content.

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Before the update, the language provided in the updated Game Content Usage Rules for Xbox games was unclear, with some understanding the guidelines’ decision that  they couldn’t use both their own channel name and the name of the Xbox game in question as part of the video headline/title in order to prevent confusion of Xbox properties. Microsoft has responded to criticisms by both the Youtube and Twitch gaming communities by explicitly stating in their rules what is and isn’t allowed for naming titles/headlines of their content.

"In addition, your Items may not use the name of the Microsoft Game in their title to give the impression that Microsoft is the source of the Item, or authorized or endorsed the Item. Items that make referential use of our titles are fine, for example, “Let’s Play Forza Motorsport 5” or “Tips and Strategies for Halo 5.” Using the Game title to tag your Item on social media is fine. We also don’t object to “Red vs. Blue” or “Operation Chastity”. But we may object to “Halo: Covenant Strike,” for example, if it could be confused as something Microsoft produced or licensed, or if it could be mistaken as an official part of the Game. We just want to make sure consumers don’t get confused."

As such, the rules have been updated on the Xbox website to include the above passage. As great as the quick call to action was, it’s upsetting to realize that whoever is responsible for crafting these rules in the first place didn’t make it this clear from the get-go. Vague, wide-grasping rules that allow Xbox to intervene should they wish to (but not explicitly state their intentions) is the bane of those creating entertainment via others’ copyrighted material. If the headaches are there, then it might not be worth risking in the first place if the end result is copyright strikes on Youtube channels/DMCA takedown notices of streams.

That said, Microsoft and Xbox do deserve credit for making it clear their stance on copyright matter. It would be great if more developers/publishers could explicitly state their rules within a permalinked address that bears more weight than a tweet, or someone’s word.

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