No, friendos, streamers should not be paying games studios for licenses

Popcorn appropriately.

Did you miss the debate last night? The debate over whether we should all be paying game companies extra for the pleasure of streaming their games, I mean.

Yesterday, Alex Hutchinson, a former Ubisoft Montreal developer who currently builds games for Google Stadia, kicked it all off with a steaming hot take. “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,” Hutchinson tweeted. “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 Ratio was strong and swift, as Hutchinson was roundly criticized for being out of touch with the market, with eliding the differences between music and interactive games, and with having the audacity to expect unpaid streamer marketers to pay for the privilege (sound familiar?). And let’s just say that snark for Google and Stadia in particular was spicy. One of my favorite replies came in the comments of Kotaku:

When Hutchinson followed it up by arguing that “people are upset at someone saying that the creators of content should be allowed to make some of the money from other people using their content for profit,” no less than Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier pointed out that game developers wouldn’t see a dime anyway because of the abusive way the games market is built – that the whole argument was disingenuous.

Incidentally, Google made a statement saying Hutchinson’s take doesn’t “reflect those of Stadia, YouTube or Google.” Which probably makes no difference anyway since you’re not gonna stop using YouTube or Google – or start using Stadia.

Source: Twitter. Cheers, Connor!

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Next he should compare streaming without paying to the holocaust like that guild wars/bethesda composer and see how far that gets him.

Kickstarter Donor

I thought it was bad enough that I have to pay taxes on donations I make from my Webnovels. A donation SHOULD be tax free by law, but alas good old uncle sam needs to stick his grubby mitts into my wallet.

The game devs already have their hands in the pie. The more people watch their streams the more popularity the streams drum up the more money gets spent on and in their games. It’s why so many game companies sponsor streamers . Now they want a cut on the front-end as well?

That’s double-dipping no matter how you look at it.


The issue for the game companies is that since a lot of these ‘pro’ streamers are making money (IE Profit) by streaming a particular game (again, not all are but enough are that the game developers are going “hey!”) – said developers feel entitled to a piece of that (the counter argument of course is that normally the Developers need to pay for advertising – and these streamers aren’t charging the companies either but a lot are getting ‘donations’ and sometimes paying sponsors for other products).
All in all it’s because this is a new area, multiple sides want to lay particular ground rules as to who should get profit/have to pay, etc.


Lovely, maybe we know what’s the plan for Stadia, and already can see one of the reason it will sink?

Dro Gul

Honest question: If I made a stream of an NFL Football game where I chatted with people and gave commentary on the game, would I be allowed to monetize it? I mean, I already paid for my NFL Sunday ticket so the NFL got something out of it…

Bruno Brito

Honest answer: Considering that there are streamers that are PAID to stream content, companies already made Alex point obsolete…even before he was relevant enough to make it.

Patreon Donor

when a reporter at forbes is calling you out just lol homie.

i realize jason was at kotaku for years and is the best reporter for games, but like if someone for forbes is calling you out about being greedy, it’s time to shut it down.


If streamers are not allowed to stream games without paying for licenses, then the streamer should also get paid by the studio´s / publishers for the advertisement they do for these games.

Korra the Legend

I think they NEED TO PAY but not the company that already makes a ton of money, they got to pay the Voice Over actors that not get a penny after they are done recording, same for the music composers, especially for story-heavy games, most gamer streamers are just taking a ton of underpaid peoples work, and act like a 6-year-old on top of it and calling it ‘content’! If they were streaming movies, they got shut down in secs… I’m trying to say there are a lot more people working on those games check the credits for ones, a ton of people don’t get paid a penny extra if the game sells well!


It is a nice thought that the developers might get something extra from streaming and not just the owners of the company they worked for. Especially since the owners are already rewarded by streamers promoting their games for free. Of course legally there is no mechanism for this so it would be a form of charity. Not realistic but a nice thought.

Jo Watt

Of course they won’t get extra payment. Pretty much any business works roughly the same… you do the work you are paid for and thats it. The people investing 100s of thousands to millions of dollars to make the game in the first place are the ones who are gonna see the returns+ .. and without that concept there wouldn’t be said game to develope meaning said developers would not have the job that pays them to begin with.

I mean I’m all for these guys getting something extra. Maybe the companies could ask for a small return if games pass a threshold which could be given to the devs as a bonus but that would require people to not want every penny of profit.


“Amazing to me that people are upset at someone saying that the creators of content should be allowed to make some of the money from other people using their content for profit.”

No shit, Sherlock. Folks don’t take too kindly to when you are trolling them in the obvious. Perhaps changing tact and opinion may get you a more desirable response. Non?

Bryan Turner

Fact of the matter is Streamers and Youtubers make games more money by advertising their products for free, Blizzard does not have to spend a Red Cent on promotionals as long as streamers like Asmongold and Esfrands keep streaming their stagnant game for example.

I’d go further and suggest that Game Companies should put together a licensing catalogue of music that then partnered Streamers can use on their Streams so that the Streamers can avoid DMCA take downs, still might be cheaper for Game Companies
than getting the same level of exposure through popular Streamers by spending it on Advertisers.