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Google distances itself from Stadia creative director's comments

Google distances itself from Stadia creative director's comments

October 22, 2020 | By Kris Graft




Google on Thursday distanced itself from tweets issued by the creative director of Stadia's Montreal studio, who said game streamers should be paying devs and publishers of games they stream.

On Twitter, Stadia's Alex Hutchinson said, "Streamers [are] worried about getting their content pulled because they used music they didn't pay for should be more worried by the fact that they're streaming games they didn't pay for as well. It's all gone as soon as publishers decide to enforce [lisencing agreements].

"The real truth is the streamers should be paying the developers and publishers of the games they stream. They should be buying a license like any real business and paying for the content they use."

The sentiment is significant for a number of reasons, not least of which Hutchinson is an employee of Google, which owns YouTube, which has its own game streaming program that relies on content creators who monetize streaming games at no charge by developers or publishers. And there's also the fact that Google is making its own Stadia games that could benefit from the current stream-for-free content creator understanding.

The concept of paying game developers and publishers to stream their games is also controversial based on the understanding that streamers, especially popular ones, promote games and help sell more of them. For many, the idea of promoters paying devs and publishers seems backwards.

In a statement to 9to5 Google, the company responded by distancing itself from Hutchinson's commentary. "The recent tweets by Alex Hutchinson, creative director at the Montreal Studio of Stadia Games and Entertainment, do not reflect those of Stadia, YouTube or Google."

At the time of this story's publishing, "Stadia" has been trending number two in the U.S. on Twitter for a few hours, showing just how provocative and controversial Hutchinson's statements are.

Ryan Wyatt, sr. head of gaming at YouTube, stressed the value of the give and take relationship between YouTube and streamers in a tweet. "We believe that Publishers and Creators have a wonderful symbiotic relationship that has allowed a thriving ecosystem to be created. One that has mutually benefited everyone! YT is focused on creating value for Creators, Publishers, & Users. All ships rise when we work together."

Controversial nature of the topic aside, the discourse also brings to light the question of what legal rights content creators actually do have when it comes to using the intellectual property of other parties. 

As Richard Hoeg, a lawyer whose firm has expertise in game industry-related issues, said in a series of tweets, even though game developers and publishers seem to outwardly encourage content creators to stream their video games, their EULAs typically say otherwise.

In a tweet that supports what Hutchinson's commentary about IP holders potentially enforcing ownership, Hoeg said, "The industry position is the negotiating position of 'Trust us. We know we aren't granting you the necessary rights, but we won't use that against you. Promise.'"



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