Yesterday, Stadia Games & Entertainment Montreal Creative Director Alex Hutchinson had a day on Twitter. After he posted two tweets about his thoughts on how streamers should have to pay developers when they stream their games, essentially arguing that they should have to pay a license to use the games rather than being able to freely play them for an audience and profit off the use of someone else’s work. He compared this to using music in streams they didn’t pay a license for, which can usually result in content being removed from places like Twitch or YouTube.
Streamers 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 it.
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 tweets were nonsense for a few reasons, but the main distinguishing factor between video games and music is that video games are an individual experience, unlike music. So watching a video game isn’t the same as just listening to a song. It’s not being handed a free version of the thing that essentially replaces any need to go out and buy it yourself like Hutchinson seems to imply. He later went on to say that games are a tool for a “show” put on by streamers, and that publishers and developers shouldn’t be allowing just anyone to stream games for free.
While the notion that this extra money could go to developers is nice, in theory, the realities of game development would never allow that to get to the pockets of people doing the actual work, as employees almost never receive any royalties for their games to begin with.
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After they were posted, they were ratioed into oblivion. As of this writing, the second tweet specifically has over 17k quote retweets and 16k replies compared to a meager 4.8k likes and 532 standard retweets. But now Google has supplied us with the most significant response of all: to disavow the Stadia man’s actions. In a (very brief) statement issued to 9to5Google, a Google representative said that Hutchinson’s wild doubling down was not representative of the company.
“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.”
As 9to5Google notes, Hutchinson has since added “ALL OPINIONS MY OWN” to his Twitter bio.
Prior to this, Hutchinson’s other Greatest Hits of Public Interaction were claims that enjoying Japanese games and storytelling over their western contemporaries is “subtle racism” and saying that Japan was a “boring” setting for a video game.