We Break Down What Capcom’s New Video Policy Means

Something to watch out for.
Something to watch out for. Capcom

Last week Capcom released a new Video Policy, which has been generating some buzz in the video gaming community. It’s not really going to impact those who simply play video games but it may affect content creators and even streamers. Today, we'll try and break down what this new policy is all about and the possible effects.

Now before we continue, just so everyone is on the same page, Capcom is responsible for games like Street Fighter, Devil May Cry, Monster Hunter, and Resident Evil, to name a few.

General Guidelines

That said, let’s see what the guidelines are and what we think about them.

Creative Content: You may make walkthroughs, tutorials, Let’s Play, speedruns, reviews, reactions, instructionals, and other “commentary” style videos using our game footage to be shared on YouTube, Twitch.tv, your website, or other video/streaming sites. The associated step-by-step commentary should be tied to the live game play being shown, and should provide instructional or educational value, or other benefits.

The first part of this guideline is rather straightforward and is actually a positive move. It also means you just can’t go in front of a camera and just discuss the game. There has to be a live demonstration, which is good actually.

Game footage posted online: You should not share game footage online without adding your own video or content unless the game console or device permits sharing of game footage. You may not split our game content into components (visual, vocal, in-game elements, etc.) and distribute such components as separate content.

This one is a bit similar to the first guideline but more specific. The first part is somewhat of a headache, particularly to some streamers. For one, it means that you can’t just play the game and stream it without making commentaries. Then, there’s also the part about the device being able to share game footage. That means, for example, that releasing reaction videos on game trailers is going to be slightly difficult. You must make sure that the game footage is allowed by the device to avoid a violation.

The second part is also something to watch out for. If you want to review the game and focus on the graphics, you have to show everything and not just the graphics. This looks like an all or nothing deal.

Not Official Capcom Video: Fan content may not be promoted as official Capcom content.

This is self-explanatory and doesn’t really raise any problems.

Only Capcom Music: Please note that some game soundtracks or songs may not be owned by Capcom, but instead are licensed from an artist or another group. As this varies from game to game, please be aware that music may trigger content flags and potential removal of the video. Game soundtracks may not be posted or distributed separately and apart from game footage.

This one is a bit “weird” honestly, considering what the previous guideline said about splitting content. What this may mean is Capcom is washing its hands of third-party content. If the music you used isn’t owned by Capcom and you get a copyright strike, then too bad for you. It also means you need to be careful when using music from any Capcom game.

Audience-Appropriate: All fan-created content should be appropriate for the audience of the Capcom games. For example, if you take game content for younger audience and make it objectionable, we reserve the right to take it down.

This one is not going to work well. What Capcom is saying is that you shouldn’t make “porn” on their characters. That’s what it means. To that, we say good luck as the rule is likely going to be a hydra problem. You know, take down one and two more take its place.

Spoilers: Any posting or other unauthorized disclosure of game content prior to a game’s official release is strictly prohibited. Even after an official game release, spoilers can ruin a fan’s experience and we always aim to avoid them. Please be respectful of others and do not deliberately push plot reveals on people who are actively avoiding learning about them; otherwise please offer spoiler disclaimers as a courtesy.

On its face, this guideline appears to be a solid and valid one. However, as many in the gaming community have pointed out, what do you mean by “fan?" For a lot of players, knowing about the game even before release isn’t really spoiling it but giving them more information if they should buy the game or not.

No Commercialization

This brings us to another part, which is about commercialization.

Non-Commercial Use: We do not allow Capcom content and other materials to be used to make money or to gain any other financial benefit except through permissible monetization described below. You may not limit to paid access, sell, or license your content that includes our game content to others for payment of any kind. In particular, we do not allow you to create new content using our game if a paid subscription is required for people to access our specific content.

Permissible Monetization: You may monetize through partner programs and/or advertising from YouTube, Twitch, Facebook or other video sharing services. Collecting voluntary contribution, such as through SuperChat on YouTube and Bits on Twitch, is permitted as long as your video is also available for free to the public on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Twitter or other video sharing services.

This may become a problem for mod developers, especially on platforms like Patreon. It probably won’t be an issue for established content creators or streamers. Yet it’s going to be a concern for up and coming ones.

Here’s an interesting question though. How is this going to affect cosplayers that make videos? Is Capcom also going to go after them?

Final Thoughts

Capcom protecting its property is pretty much a good move. However, it also seems that Capcom is distancing itself from some other issues especially when it comes to music. Capcom is saying that it’s okay to play music as long as it’s theirs but if they don’t own it, then that’s your problem.

It’s worth noting as well that some of the guidelines can have vague interpretations. In addition, it’s still the start of the year, so we still don’t know the full effects and how it’s really going to impact the community.

Overall, one may think they're helping content creators or streamers. The reality though is that this is still all about Capcom.

Learn more about the new guidelines here.

What about you? What do you think of the new guidelines?

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