Alex Hutchinson, Typhoon Studios co-founder and creative director at the Montreal Studio of Stadia Games and Entertainment, has suggested on Twitter that video game streamers should pay developers for the rights to stream their games.
Hutchinson’s tweet seems to be a response to Twitch’s controversial handling of DMCA takedowns which have impacted their streaming partners’ ability to play licensed music and other licensed audio content on their streams. The confusing nature of that policy has concerned many streamers who not only are resorting to deleting all of their old content but are left with unanswered questions regarding the extent of Twitch’s policies and what they’re supposed to do moving forward.
Now, Hutchinson seems to be arguing that similar takedowns could one day extend to video games themselves. While the wording of his first tweet almost suggests that he’s talking about a hypothetical scenario in which developers use publishing rights to control streaming content (which is a problem that some YouTubers say they’ve encountered in the past), his follow-up certainly hints that he believes such takedowns and copyright restrictions would be justified.
There are a couple of things we should point out right off the bat. First off, some Twitter users are already arguing that Hutchinson is just “trolling” people. However, the nature of some of his replies regarding this subject certainly supports the theory that he’s being sincere.
It’s also important to note that Hutchinson has attracted controversy over his views of the video game industry in the past. In 2012, he gave an interview in which he suggested that “there’s a subtle racism in the business, especially on the journalists’ side, where Japanese developers are forgiven for doing what they do.” He also said “just think about how many Japanese games are released where their stories are literally gibberish” and that he’d “take Gears of War over Bayonetta any time.” That was certainly a rubbish argument back then and many think his Twitch stance belongs in the trash, too.
The idea that people who have already bought a game should somehow give studios a portion of whatever proceeds they receive for streaming the game has attracted the ire of many fans, streamers, and industry figures who vehemently disagree.
It didn’t take long for Google to start doing a bit of damage control, saying in a statement to 9to5Google that “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.”
YouTube Gaming head Ryan Wyatt made his own statement on Twitter, one that definitely seeks to contradict Hutchinson’s controversial thoughts on the matter: “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.”
Certainly, a glance at the replies to Hutchinson’s suggestion reveals that there do not seem to be many people who agree with his position at all. That’s hardly a surprise given the popularity of streaming events such as U.S. Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar playing Among Us as well as the list of games that have benefited from streaming exposure, including Fall Guys, Among Us, and Phasmophobia in 2020 alone.