Copyright strikes and DMCA are a major concern for any content creator looking to base their content around the creative assets of a video game. At the moment, the only solution for most games is to completely mute the in-game soundtrack, or face the potential consequences of a DMCA takedown or Copyright strike. Fair use can only be taken so far, so the best way to protect this subset of your audience who helps to drive sales to your games is to implement some sort of streaming mode.
In fact, I’m actually starting to see some developers take this initiative, and this is great! However, I really do believe that there needs to be more widespread adoption of such a feature.
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What Would Streaming Mode Entail?
If you are unfamiliar with the concept, the way that I envision streaming mode would omit certain tracks or sound effects in a video game, possibly substituting them with alternatives that are streamer safe. This would allow the streamer to be able to create content with your games with no risk to themselves.
To the streamer who is just trying to put on a good show, this peace of mind is invaluable, especially given the recent fears of DMCA and the possibility of jail time weighing on their minds.
If such a feature was standardized across the game development industry, it would make the lives of a fairly large subset of game streamers much easier, and safer.
What About Older Titles and Console Games?
I’m not asking for the impossible – I don’t foresee this sort of feature being patched into older games, such as the legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time any time soon. This is especially true given that it is of a generation of games that didn’t have easy access to patching, not to mention that titles like these aren’t often the target of DMCA either.
However, when it comes to console games that are patchable, a streamer mode can still be beneficial. Even if the console doesn’t support streaming directly, it can still be accomplished with the help of a capture card.
Why I Feel That Adding a Streaming Mode Is Necessary
The biggest reason that I feel that a streaming mode is necessary is that there is no way for a streamer to know what tracks have the proper license in a game that makes them safe to stream. It’s not like game devs provide an in-depth pamphlet with every music score and sound effect in it, and a list of people who made those tracks and sounds to reference.
And even if they did, Imagine trying to read that pamphlet for every single game you want to stream, “Oh, I’m at this part of the game, GOTTA MUTE THE MUSIC!” It just isn’t feasible.
It doesn’t help that there isn’t an easy way for streamers to reach out and request permission to use the music in their creations. That one isn’t usually at the fault of game devs – more often it is the music industry.
However, if the game development team designed the game with a streamer mode feature in mind from the very beginning, they could create alternate tracks, or systematically handle the muting of tracks that aren’t cleared for streamer safe content. This would seriously clear up a ton of confusion regarding the ambiguity of safe-to-stream content.
Games that Have a Streaming Mode Already
- Rocket League
- Life Is Strange 2
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Forza Horizon 4
- Gran Turismo Sport
- Cities: Skylines
As you can see, the options are quite limited at this time.
Help the streamers out by implementing a Streaming mode, or streamer-friendly mode so that we can better present your game to our audiences without the worry of the mighty DMCA hammer being dropped upon our heads.
What Streamers Can Do in the Meantime
While the adoption of a streamer mode starts to take root, I suggest to anyone who streams or creates YouTube content to continue muting the in-game soundtrack of games, and dub over some streamer-safe music. It is the only way to know for sure that you won’t get a DMCA strike for creating streaming content.