The sensitivity about mature content on YouTube is leaving many who specialise in violent games out of pocket.
Kotaku reports that Call of Duty: WWII is already proving problematic for content makers as its themes – war, violence, and presumably most pointedly, Nazis – do not play well with the sensitivities that are currently denting the platform’s monetisation.
This all stems from PewDiePie’s high-profile fall from grace and the advertiser exodus that followed. While Google has been working hard to improve its content filtering and reduce the amount of racist and hate content on YouTube, advertisers remain incredibly nervous.
As a result, YouTube now implements a new range of Brand Safety Controls that screen videos for things such as ‘vulgar language,’ ‘disasters and tragedies,’ ‘sexually suggestive content’ or ‘subjects related to war’. Advertisers are able to automatically omit their ads from content that has been flagged up as being high risk.
The result is that advertising revenues for many content makers have plummeted, and those whose channels revolve around violent games are being hardest hit.
The site mentions Call of Duty YouTuber PrestigeIsKey, whose returns have dropped sharply despite his 1m+ subscribers.
At first I thought this wouldn’t affect gamers because, obviously, video games aren’t real,” he explained. My WWII zombie-related videos have been taken down. I’ve had videos demonetized because of ‘depictions of war,’ even though it’s Advanced Warfare and I’m talking about WWII, or I’m showing gameplay of CoD: WWII. It’s like, are games really lookin’ that good nowadays?”
PrestigeIsKey also claims to have experimented by uploading a video about milk. Despite (unsurprisingly) enjoying a fraction of the audience his Call of Duty videos attract, it earned four times as much revenue.
YouTube has refused to confirm whether COD: WWII is being deliberately flagged up by its warning systems.