Sometimes it is best to just keep your mouth shut, especially if you work in a high profile position in the video games industry. One Stadia creative director is learning that lesson the hard way after expressing his thoughts on streaming and how that impacts a publisher’s bottom line. Basically, he thinks streamers should pay royalties to stream themselves playing someone’s game. As you can probably already guess, this idea went over somewhat poorly.
Alex Hutchinson, known for his work on Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed III and The Sims 2, made his thoughts known via everyone’s favorite soapbox, Twitter. Let’s just say the backlash was pretty immediate.
The comments themselves? As Video Games Chronicle reports, Hutchinson tweeted: “Streamers worried about getting their content pulled because they used music they didn’t pay for should be more worried by the fact that they’re streaming games they didn’t pay for as well. It’s all gone as soon as publishers decide to enforce it.”
He also tweeted, “The real truth is the streamers should be paying the developers and publishers of the games they stream. They should be buying a license like any real business and paying for the content they use.”
Naturally, the fact that this was coming from a Stadia rep was not lost on many people. Video Games Chronicle reports that immensely popular YouTube creator DanTDM replied to Hutchinson’s argument by citing the streamer’s own paid promotion of Stadia and its platform.
Google, for its part, distanced itself from Hutchinson’s comments and stated that they are his own opinion and do not reflect the company’s views. A canned response to be sure, but expected considering how much traction these tweets gained.
While his opinion might not be popular, Hutchinson has raised an important point that is too often obscured in the new and novel excitement surrounding streaming in the modern era of video games. Few games actually grant the end-user the right to stream and make money off of the game but some do. Perhaps Hutchinson’s raising of this small point can help bring about the broader discussion for a sea change as far as attitudes about content and intellectual property are concerned with streaming.
As many people have pointed out, the relationship between streaming and video games is more immediately beneficial than most but it is also not one that is unique to the industry. Many other segments, such as health and beauty, have experienced massive renaissances in sales due to their embrace of influencer and streaming communities. It’s not only helped many bottom lines but it’s also made a lot of people rich on both sides of the content fence.
What do you think? Should streamers pay publishers/devs royalties for streaming their games on Twitch etc.? Why or why not? Let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments section.
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