If you make money through ads while playing games on places like Twitch and YouTube, you may want to pay attention to the fair bit of legal stance Microsoft has officially shared. The Microsoft Studios team spoke with Game Informer about what gamers can and can’t do while trying to monetize videos of their games.
Before we get down to it, it’s worth noting that none of this applies to Minecraft. While, yes, Minecraft and Mojang both now fall under Microsoft’s brand, their use in Let’s Play and Twitch type services is all covered in the Mojang Account guidelines. You can read all that here, and it has not changed.
As for other Microsoft Studios products? It boils down pretty simply: don’t make anything pornographic and offensive with its stuff, and don’t reauthor the game’s code and you’re good to go. Here’s the exact verbiage as it ran with Game Informer:
You can’t use Game Content to create an Item (defined as machinima, videos, and other derivative creations) that is pornographic, lewd, obscene, vulgar, discriminatory (on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc.), illegal, hate speech, promoting violence, drug use or any illegal activity, promoting crimes against humanity, genocide or torture, or is otherwise objectionable. Whether an Item is “objectionable” is up to us, but you can expect us to be concerned if a significant number of people in the game’s community or the public at large report the content as offensive.
Generically speaking, Twitch and YouTubers won’t be affected too much here. Microsoft is requiring that you include some boilerplate legalese with your work, which they provide here.
[Name of the Microsoft Game] © Microsoft Corporation. [The title of your Item] was created under Microsoft’s “Game Content Usage Rules” using assets from [Name of the Microsoft Game], and it is not endorsed by or affiliated with Microsoft.
Beyond that, this is a pretty good deal. At no point does Microsoft shut Let’s Players down, which would be the worst thing the company could do.