YouTube Loosens Up On Video Game Violence Policy, Sort Of

In the past, YouTube had a system in which some users had to go through an age check to view video game clips featuring violence, like the bloody fatalities in Mortal Kombat 11. However, it looks like Google’s video service will see some changes leading into the new year.

A new post over on YouTube Help indicates that the team will alter how this system works. Per the post, starting today, “scripted or simulated violent content found in video games will be treated the same as other types of scripted content.” So clips from action-based video games should undergo the same as, say, uploading an action-packed trailer for a film or television show.

Google broke down the three main ways this will change for content creators.

  • First off, “future gaming uploads that include scripted or simulated violence may be approved instead of being age-restricted.” But the age-gate system won’t entirely go away. “More graphic scenes like dismemberment, decapitations, showing of human corpses with these severe injuries may be age-restricted, while less graphic content may be approved.”
  • The team makes it clear that some clips will still need approval. “There will be fewer restrictions for violence in gaming, but this policy will still maintain our high bar to protect audiences from real-world violence.”
  • And that leads to an interesting third point. “We may still age-restrict content if violent or gory imagery is the sole focus of the video. For instance, if the video focuses entirely on the most graphically violent part of a video game.” It really is going to be case-by-case, depending on the severity of the content. So if you’ve got a clip that’s nothing but wall-to-wall MK11 fatalities, watch out.

This may anger some parents who have kids that turn to YouTube to see their favorite gaming content, as less age-gate checking could come into play. But, for now, some content creators are sure to see this as a win.

We’ll see just how restrictive—or open—this system is in the months ahead as more content goes on the channel.