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YouTube changes guidelines for video game violence


The ever-shifting conversation surrounding video game violence is quite complex. As more and more countries seek to crack down on some aspects of anti-social behavior, sometimes by scapegoating video games, the complex situation gets very confusing. And of course, online platforms are often caught in the middle of this ongoing conversation. YouTube in particular is one platform that’s become more infamous about its ambiguous policies and lax enforcement.

YouTube has been plagued with controversy over the last few years, and not just over video game violence. The closure of various properties, like the gaming-focused section of their site. has led to suspicion that the company will be clamping down on less-profitable efforts in an order to finally become cash flow positive. This has of course led to many creators feeling like their livelihoods are in danger, leading some to abandon the platform entirely and move to other venues.

new post over on YouTube Help shows that the company is loosening restrictions on violent content in gaming videos. It does beg some questions about how tight their classifications are, and if there will be any loopholes to exploit. Because if so, that’s a big problem, but we will have to wait and see.

Specifically, YouTube’s statement outlines three major changes concerning violence in video games:

  • A revamp of the age-gated system is coming. In their words, “future gaming uploads that include scripted or simulated violence may be approved instead of being age-restricted.” The age gate system will remain in place for “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.”
  • More content that was previously restricted will now be approved. “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.”
  • Any videos depicting extreme violence or gore as a primary focus will still be restricted to some degree. “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.”
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There are concerns that kids would be exposed to more violent content than before, which is a pretty obvious concern given how many kids are exposed to YouTube from a young age in the latest generation. Google has already made other changes to deal with these criticisms though. YouTube has previously restricted kid’s access to the platform, although it’s probably not enough control.

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