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YouTube Eases Restrictions on ‘Simulated’ Violence in Gaming Content

YouTube announced a change to its content guidelines that will be more permissive in allowing depictions of violence in video-game content — as long as it’s not the sole focus of a video.

Starting on Dec. 2, YouTube said, scripted or simulated violent content found in video games will be treated the same as scripted content in TV or movies.

“We’ve heard loud and clear that our policies need to differentiate between real-world vs. simulated violence, and we’re updating our enforcement to reflect that,” the YouTube Gaming team wrote in a tweet Monday.

Ryan Wyatt, YouTube’s global head of gaming and virtual reality, added that his team “spent a tremendous amount of time on this to ensure the Gaming Creator community has full transparency around gaming video content, and acknowledged the very distinct differences between real life and video-game content.”

Under the update to the Community Guidelines, future gaming uploads that include scripted or simulated violence may be approved instead of being age-restricted. YouTube said there will be fewer restrictions for violence in gaming overall but said the site “will still maintain our high bar to protect audiences from real-world violence.”

In addition, YouTube may still age-restrict content if “violent or gory imagery is the sole focus of the video,” according to the site. YouTube also said the update to its Community Guidelines doesn’t affect whether or not videos are eligible for monetization under YouTube’s advertiser-friendly guidelines.

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YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki last month said in her quarterly letter to the creator community that the video site planned to update the policy on violent content as it relates to gaming.

The Entertainment Software Association, a trade group that represents game publishers, has long maintained that video games do not cause real-world violence or aggression. “Blaming video games for real-world violence is no more productive than blaming other forms of media for the content they depict,” the ESA says on its website.

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