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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):

Ads guidance Profanities Questionnaire options & details

This content can earn ad revenue

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

For example:

  • “WTF”
  • “What the ****”

Words acceptable for network television such as “damn” or “hell” used anywhere in the video.

Infrequent usage of profanity (such as when used a few times in a paragraph; not a focal subject of the video).

Hateful slurs (such as hateful slurs like the “n-word”) will be treated under the Hateful and derogatory content policy.

Words abbreviated, censored, or acceptable for network television (like “hell” or “damn") in the title, thumbnail, or video.

Profanity like “shit” or “bitch” used outside the start of the video (after 15 seconds).

Profanity that does not occur throughout the majority of the video.

Profanity used within music or stand up comedy video content.

This content may earn limited or no ad revenue

Profanities including partial censorship or misspellings in titles or thumbnails.

For example:

  • "What bull sh1t"

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

Profanities used multiple times within the first 8 to 15 seconds.

Profanity used in the first 8 to 15 seconds.

This content will earn no ad revenue

Someone doing a voiceover in a game where the f-word is mentioned in the first 4 seconds of the video. 

Profanity used in the first 7 seconds or majority of the video.

Profanities used in thumbnails or titles.

Adult content

Ads guidance Sexually suggestive Nudity Questionnaire options & details

This content can earn ad revenue

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

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

Usage of sexual jokes and innuendos (such as mimicking sex acts in a humorous way using hands) that does not use vulgar or obscene terms.

Fully censored naked bodies where features are indiscernible.

Non-arousing portrayal of limited clothing in an appropriate setting, such as a pool (game characters swimming in bikinis as a part of the story).

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

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.

This content may earn limited or no ad revenue

Sensual dancing (such as twerking) with minimal clothing in a professional setting like a dance studio or live events.

None.

Sensual dancing in a professional setting with limited clothing; classical art displaying discernible intercourse or genitals; Non-arousing sexual education containing animated sex acts; Pranks involving sexual themes.

This content will earn no ad revenue

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 or thumbnails 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.

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

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

Usage of obscene language including vulgar terms (such as the c-word clearly spelled out or spoken during a game play).

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).

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

Pixelated or censored nudity where the sexual body parts are still recognizable (such as scenes with naked bodies starred or blurred, but still identifiable from their silhouettes).

Depictions of sexual body parts such as recurring or focal shots of cleavage or bulges intended to sexually arouse audiences (such as close up breast or turgid genital outline shots of game characters). 

Exposed, minimally covered sexual body parts or full nudity; sexual acts (even if blurred or implied); discussion of sexual topics such as fetishes, tips, experiences; a video thumbnail with sexual content (including texts or links); sexually arousing scenes such as gratifying dances and gestures; appearance of sex toys or devices; sex industry and their workers related content; animal sexuality featuring genitals or mating scenes.

Violence

Ads guidance Gaming violence Questionnaire options & details

This content can earn ad revenue

Violence featuring non-graphic gameplay. Non-graphic gameplay includes:

  • Graphic scenes (such as a gory attack on a person) outside the first 15 seconds on the video. 

Censored clips of graphic violence (such as the moment of a kill or blurred-out beheading scene).

Normal game play which doesn’t constitute graphic violence (see “This content may earn limited or no ad revenue” section below for the definition of graphic violence).

Violence that is unrealistic, playful, and generally acceptable for all ages (such as family-friendly video games depicting running from monsters).
Law enforcement, including regular duty in action (such as forcible arrest, crowd control, dispute with officer, forcible entry); 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.
This content may earn limited or no ad revenue

Graphic game violence in the thumbnail or in the first 8 to 15 seconds of the video. 

  • “Graphic game violence” includes brutal killings or severe injuries focusing on bodily fluids and parts such as beheadings and dismemberment.
Graphic law enforcement such as visible injuries; dead bodies with obvious injury or damage in educational or documentary settings (such as a history learning channel); graphic game violence in a thumbnail or early on in the content; raw footage of armed conflict without injuries; description of graphic details of tragedies; dramatized displaying severe and shocking injuries.
This content will earn no ad revenue

Focus on gameplay manufactured to create a shocking experience. Examples include: 

  • Aggregating non-playable characters for mass killings.

Graphic game violence in the thumbnail or in the first seven seconds of the video.

  • “Graphic game violence” includes severe injuries (such as beheadings, dismemberment) focusing on bodily fluids and/or parts with prolonged or severe agony. 

Video gameplay showing sexual violence (such as sexually abusing a character where the agony can be observed). 

Video gameplay showing violence motivated by hate or violence targeting protected groups (such as killing a specific religious group with hate sentiment).

Video gameplay showing graphic torture. 

Video gameplay showing graphic violence directed at minors (such as hitting a minor character). 

Video gameplay showing graphic violence directed at real named persons (such as killing a character named after a public figure).

Graphic dead bodies in a non-educational video; video gameplay featuring prohibited themes (such as sexual assault).

Ultra graphic violent acts (including those involving law enforcement) and injuries.

Incitement to or glorification of violence.

Controversial issues

Ads guidance Controversial issues Questionnaire options & details

This content can earn ad revenue

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.
This content may earn limited or no ad revenue

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 (such as 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.
This content will earn no ad revenue

Graphic depictions (such as 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.

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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