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Gaming and monetization

Gaming is a popular topic for videos on YouTube. This page helps creators of gaming videos understand the various monetization statuses that can apply. These aren’t new policies, but rather are existing guidelines derived from YouTube’s advertiser-friendly content guidelines. While this page focuses on common themes for gaming videos, remember that all the advertiser-friendly content guidelines continue to apply to all of your videos.

Violations of the below may result in advertisers choosing to show limited or no ads on your monetized videos. It’s always best to check that your videos don’t violate YouTube’s Community Guidelines, which may also affect their monetization status.

Tips for monetizing gaming videos

Below are some examples from our advertiser-friendly content guidelines that are related to gaming topics. All the below monetization icon changes may apply to videos featuring both real or computer generated subjects if there are policy violations in audio or visual form (including text). This includes in the video thumbnail and title.

Inappropriate language

Featuring profanities, or inappropriate language, in your gaming videos might result in monetization status changes. Here are some examples (non-exhaustive):

  • Light profanities: “hell,” “damn”
  • Moderate profanities: "bitch", "shit", "asshole"
  • Strong profanities: “d*ck,” “f*ck” 
  • Extreme profanities: “c*nt,” “n***er,” “fa**ot"
Ads guidance Profanities Questionnaire options & details

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Fully censored or abbreviated profanities in the title, thumbnail, and video.

For example:

  • “WTF”

  • “What the ****”

Light profanities such as “damn” or “hell” used anywhere in the video.

Infrequent usage of strong profanity (e.g. used a few times in a paragraph; not a focal subject of the video).

Exception: Extreme profanities such as “n***er” will result in no ads.

Abbreviated, censored, or light profanity (like “hell” or “damn”) in the title, thumbnail, or video. Moderate profanity (like “shit” or “bitch”) used in the video. Infrequent usage of strong profanity (like the "f-word”) after the opening or up to twice in approx. the first 30 seconds of the video; or strong profanity in a music video.

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Moderate profanities including partial censorship or misspellings in titles or thumbnails.

For example:

  • "What a bull sh1t"

Strong profanities used frequently throughout a video (such as the f-word used repeatedly in the entire video).

Multiple uses of strong profanities within the first 30 seconds.

Moderate profanity in the title or thumbnail; strong profanity used frequently in the opening of a video (roughly the first 30 seconds); strong profanity in the title or thumbnail of a music video.

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Extreme profanities or racial slurs (such as the n-word) used anywhere in the video.

Strong or extreme profanity even when misspelled, such as “You d!ck!”

Extreme profanity used in the title, thumbnail or at any point throughout the video, for example "c*nt," "n***er," "fa**ot," or other hateful slurs.

Adult content

Ads guidance Sexually suggestive Nudity Questionnaire options & details

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Non-gratifying sexual topics (such as a plot about a visit to a gynecologist).

Regular romantic scenes (such as an affectionate kiss between characters).

Non-focal or non-arousing portrayal of limited clothing in an appropriate setting such as a pool.

Non-sexually gratifying or incidental appearance of limited clothing.

Non-focal, fully censored nudity (such as fully censored naked body parts).

Fully censored naked bodies where features are indiscernible.

Romance or kissing; discussions of romantic relationships or sexuality without reference to intercourse; fully censored nudity that is indiscernible and without intent to arouse the audience; sensual dancing in a professional setting without full or partial nudity; non-graphic sex education, or a music video containing sexual content without nudity.

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Sex toys or similar pleasure enhancement products not in use (such as game items or appearances in the background).

Implied sex acts (such as movements under blankets) or sounds of sex acts (such as moaning).

Descriptive sexual topics referenced in gameplay (such as masturbation or describing a sexual topic based on a character or scene from the game).

Highly sexualized titles (such as “18+,” “adults only”).

Including crude jokes in your content or embedded as a part of the game story that uses vulgar terms.

Partially censored naked bodies where sexual body parts are still discernible (such as silhouettes).

Depiction of sexual body parts such as recurring shots of minimally-covered breasts.

Discussions of intimate sexual experiences; focus on sexual body parts (even if covered); blurred or censored nudity with discernible body parts, even when used in an educational context or news reporting; implied sexual acts; sensual dancing in a professional setting with limited clothing; sex toys without human contact or nudity, or realistic representations of genitalia.

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Visible sexual acts or sexual body fluids.
A game story that features sex-related entertainment (such as strip clubs) as a part of the plot (even if it’s a quick stop/task).

Depictions or discussions of fetishes.

Explicit and vulgar titles such as “hot s3x” (including intentional misspelling) or “JERK OFF compilation.”

Misleading metadata (such as a title promising a sexual act) even if the video itself doesn't contain adult content.

Sexual video games targeting adults, or sexualizing video game characters with the intent to arouse or gratify the audience.

Fully exposed sexual body parts (such as visible genitals).

Exposed breasts or full nudity, sexual acts, discussion of fetishes, or a video thumbnail with sexual content.


Ads guidance Gaming violence Questionnaire options & details

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Graphic violence (such as gory attacks with visible impact, severe injuries with blood) shown throughout the normal course of gameplay.

Censored clips of graphic violence (such as the moment of a kill).

Focal, graphic violence in normal gameplay (such as short cinematic scenes with graphic armed fights).

Graphic law enforcement in an educational context; violence that occurs as part of unedited video gameplay; mild violence with minimal blood; dead bodies that are fully censored, blurred, prepared for burial, or shown in historical events like wars, as part of an educational video.
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When there is edited video gameplay emphasizing graphic violence or gore in the video (such as zooming in or encircling the moment of graphic violence).

Fleeting graphic law enforcement without educational context; showing dead bodies with obvious injury and/or mutilation in educational or documentary (e.g. history learning channel) setting or display of non-gruesome dead bodies without educational intent; edited video gameplay with some clips that focus on graphic violence; moderate violence that shows blood as part of a non-educational video; raw footage of armed conflict without injuries.
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Focal subject of a video is on graphic violence such as:

  • Depiction of a single graphic violence scene (such as an extreme fatality moment).
  • Compilation of the graphic scenes (such as compilation of extreme kills).
Raw footage focused on violent law enforcement; graphic dead bodies in a non-educational video; edited video gameplay that primarily focuses on graphic violence; domestic violence.

Controversial issues

Ads guidance Controversial issues Questionnaire options & details

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Brief or fleeting references to any of the topics or events listed in No Ads column.

Example: Usage of the word “suicide” in a video game context (such as killing the game character in order to restart the game).

Content discussing preventing controversial issues. Content where the controversial issues are mentioned fleetingly in a video and are neither graphic nor descriptive.
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Graphic depictions of controversial issues in the thumbnail (e.g someone getting abused).

Dramatized or artistic depictions of controversial issues that are not highly graphic (e.g. someone jumping off of a bridge in a game scene, but the dead graphic body isn’t being shown).  

Content about controversial issues that are not visually disturbing yet may contain descriptive language. Content that is dramatized/artistic, educational, documentary, or containing scientific presentations of these issues.
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Graphic depictions (e.g. bloody injury) or detailed descriptions of controversial issues.

  • Child abuse
  • Pedophilia
  • Child marriage
  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexual harassment
  • Self-harm
  • Suicide
  • Eating disorders
  • Domestic abuse

Promotion or glorification of controversial issues in the content, title, or thumbnail (e.g. “let’s go harass these children”). 

Explicit audio of the act taking place. 

Content which focuses on graphic depictions or detailed descriptions of controversial issues. Content is either graphic or highly descriptive with controversial issues being the central topic of the content.

Sensitive events

Ads guidance Sensitive events Questionnaire options & details

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Passive mentions of sensitive events as one of many topics during gameplay.

Foreign terrorist organizations (FTO): 

Gaming content portraying these groups as a general subject without footage of terrorist attacks.

Comedic videos with fleeting references to FTOs or terrorism.

Drug trade organizations (DTO), such as drug cartels: 

Content focused on the international drug trade as a whole (and not a specific DTO). 

Portraying DTOs or their members in dramatized content  like games. 

Comedic content covering DTOs or the international drug trade as a subject.

Fleeting mention of sensitive events; or academic/documentary content on historic acts of terror prior to 9/11; educational content on terrorism or terrorist groups absent of graphic imagery or footage of actual terrorist attacks.
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Drug trade organizations (DTO), such as drug cartels: 

Content focused primarily on specific DTOs or DTO leaders. 

  • May include non-graphic situations of attacks or and their aftermath, hostage situations, etc. (e.g. game characters running away from attacks but no visible injuries). 
Educational or documentary content or public service announcements on drug trade organizations (DTO). 
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Games based on an actual sensitive or tragic event that happened (such as a 9/11 simulation game).

Foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs): 

Relevant imagery or names of groups/leaders anywhere in the content (such as a photo of a specific leader or a computer-generated image in the thumbnail). 

Drug trade organizations (DTO), such as drug cartels:

Games that may involve specific DTOs, DTO leaders, or relevant images like flags. 

Discussions of terrorist attacks; events resulting in the catastrophic loss of human life; non-educational discussions of foreign terrorist organizations or drug trade organizations; content on these groups featuring graphic imagery, or including the names of these organizations in the title of the video.

Helpful definitions:

  • Focus or focal refers to when a segment or full video is about a given topic, and that there is repeated reference and focus on the topic. A passing reference to one of the topics listed as controversial or sensitive is not a reason for No Ads. For example, briefly acknowledging a controversial or sensitive topic (e.g. “In next week’s video we’ll be discussing declining rates of suicide.”) wouldn’t be considered focal, but a segment of a video specifically talking about such a topic would be considered focal. Focus need not be verbal. If there is an image or text that focuses on the sensitive issue, that would be considered focus too. Some examples include: 
    • A video focused on how to perform self-harm.
    • Content only focused on using strong profanities without other context or reason.
  • Fleeting refers to moments that are not the focus of content (not focal), and include passing references to topics listed as controversial or sensitive. For example, briefly acknowledging a controversial or sensitive topic (e.g. “In next week’s video we’ll be discussing declining rates of suicide.”) wouldn’t be considered focal, but rather fleeting.
To learn more about key terms used throughout our advertiser-friendly content guidelines, see our table of definitions.

What types apply

View details about which types of videos are relevant for our gaming monetization policies.

Applicable video types

In-game cutscenes or cinematics

Animated sequences added in between actual gameplay are also in scope of our policy guidelines. Editing them out to share a focal graphic scene or making compilations out of these scenes containing grotesque clips will be subject to a yellow icon.

Reaction videos

If the original clip embedded in your reaction video consists of scenes that violate our policies, it is still within scope of our guidelines and enforcement; therefore it will earn a yellow icon despite the fact that you may not have produced the original violative clip.

Conversation / voiceover gameplay

Audio not produced by the game, but produced by you, to feature over gameplay (voiceover) should also be compliant with the Advertiser-friendly content guidelines.

Texts or graphics inserted in the video

If there is brand unsafe content in any of the text (such as self-created closed captions or subtitles embedded in a video), audio (signature opening song, etc.), or graphic images (such as your brand icon, slogan, etc.) added in your video, this will result in a yellow icon.

Comments captured and legible on your video

Viewer-generated comments (such as fast scrolling comments, user donation pop-ups, etc.) that are shown inside of your video content are not in scope for our reviews unless it is somehow explicitly pointed out (such as reading out in the video or highlighting it by zooming into it). Similarly, the content in the comments sections associated with the video are not subject to advertiser-friendly content guidelines and it is your responsibility to moderate them if you see inappropriate comments (see here for more details).

Gambling content related to gameplay

How-to videos, tutorials, and direct links to gambling sites (such as betting on matches using virtual goods as a form of currency) or betting with in-game currency are in scope of our AdSense publisher “illegal content” policy violations. Obtaining virtual items outside of the normal course of gameplay is also policy violative (this does not include creator’s code such as affiliate programs). YouTube users are to abide by the rules of AdSense policy and failure to do so will result in usage restrictions. Check out further information on this page.

Long-form content

The length of a video is important, but what matters more is the intent and context of the video. If there is an offensive element in the video, it will not be considered advertiser-friendly. For instance, even for those gaming videos that are close to an hour long, if they contain the usage of hateful racial slurs, this would result in a yellow icon.

Violations presented as a focal subject

We count a violative element as focal if it falls under one of the following categories:

  • Mention or portrayal of something that could leave the audiences shocked (such as unnecessarily zooming into a violent attack with serious injury and blood in-game).
  • The violative element is the central subject of the video (such as a compilation of beheadings in a game).

If it is inevitable for you to include such scenes in your video, you should voluntarily mark your video with a yellow icon.

Thumbnails and titles

Shocking and stimulating phrases are often added to thumbnails or titles to attract viewers. However, just as with video content, violative elements identified in thumbnails or titles will also earn limited or no ads.

Some example Thumbnails include (this list is non-exhaustive):

  • Encircling or otherwise calling to attention (such as highlighting blurred genitals)
  • Lewd text related to sex acts (such as “watch this character ejaculate”)
  • Images that are shocking, such as explicit sex acts or graphic violence

Some example Titles include (this list is non-exhaustive):

  • Fully spelled-out, censored, or intentionally misspelled profanities (such as “what the f#%k”)
  • Misleading titles promising sexual content
  • Titles with adult-only references (such as 19+ or ADULT ONLY)
  • All caps used in title to catch attention (such as “EXTREME FATALITY WINS”)

Learn more 

Want to subscribe to policy updates? Subscribe at our YouTube Community Forum here to get an email alert whenever we make policy updates. You can also follow us Twitter at @teamyoutube or @youtubecreators.
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