When looking at Microsoft’s webpage about its ‘rules’, it is making it clear that it doesn’t want people streaming Microsoft’s games and get money through advertising. Since video games are not like movies or books, streaming isn’t the experience as playing them. Sales are not taken away.
I actually like how gamers are trying to become mini-entrepreneurs and turn their video game time, which can be a waste, into an asset (as time that puts money into their pocket). A feature of my dream console would be to do streaming and upload videos from the console itself with no third party program or PC. Watching movies or TV shows on our game console is the wrong way. The correct way is for us to watch other people play games. We could be watching someone’s strategy video, or someone’s silly video. The storytelling that gamers do to each other is a fundamental part of the gaming process.
As someone who does make intellectual property, I’ve never understood why these companies get SO FURIOUS when someone makes money off the IP. If I was a game maker, my job is to make games. If something was reducing sales of the game, I’d be pissed. But I’d think it is cool if people streamed my game or made story videos of the game. Minecraft got so popular because of this.
“But they’re making money off our IP!” cry the game companies. Technically, since IP is considered art assets and sound assets, this is right. But actually, the money is being made off of the streamers’ IP or storyteller’s IP. The reason why people are watching the streamer has more to do with the player than with the game. People don’t tune in to Day because it is Starcraft. They tune in because of his strategy tips and jokes which are his intellectual property.
If I made youtube videos of my desk as I told a story about walruses, am I violating the IP holder of the table designer? Of course not. The actual IP is in the story about walruses.
What is missing in all this is the IP of the player. The player giving commentary as well as the player’s contribution to the game (the player’s performance) all consist of the player IP. What is so annoying about these Microsoft ‘rules’ is that it pretends the player IP isn’t there, but it is there. I can take any book, go to the airwaves, read parts of it and give commentary. It is perfectly legal and people have gotten rich off it. A player’s relationship with a video game is not unlike an actor with stage props. It is a performance. This is undefined law. If I could make money off videos of showing me do stunts with a skateboard (because skateboard companies can’t cite IP violation), why can’t I make money by showing off stunts I do with any video game? It can be argued that the video game isn’t the IP in question but the players’ whose IP is undefined. The video game in these videos are merely stage props. They aren’t the content of the video much of the time.
Anyway, this is another indicator of the Game Industry wanting to implode by going after fan behavior. It has always amazed me why these game companies get so LIVID that someone, somewhere, is making money off their IP. It could be something like someone making little statues of the characters and selling them online or machinima. All they are doing is monetizing fan services.
I swear the game companies keep getting stupider each year.