On YouTube and Twitch, thousands of people play video games for the enjoyment of others–sometimes they make money on it. As far as monetization goes, Let’s Plays and game streaming has always occupied a weird grey area. Until recently, you could watch a user streaming an unreleased game on Twitch, and have no idea if the publisher was paying them to do so. Yesterday, Twitch announced on their blog that this is changing. All sponsored or promotional content on Twitch.tv is now required to be clearly labeled for the viewer. This includes not just video of gameplay, but graphics, social media posts, and email promotions. Now, when a video is sponsored, you will see a small “Sponsored” tag to relay as much. Also social media updates such as Tweets “will be clearly identified with appropriate “Brought to you by” language, or amended with ^SP, to denote a “sponsored tweet.” This is a long time coming: It’s been nearly 4 months since the revelation that YouTubers were being paid by game publishers to make videos about their games. YouTube is a more broad service, so a transparency agreement would most likely include more than just video games. I have to wonder if one is coming there as well. What do you think? Is this enough to legitimize video game streaming as a business venture? Let me know in the comments below!
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