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YouTube is changing how it moderates violent video game content

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If showcasing gore isn’t the main reason for the video, violent video game content will no longer get restricted

Captain Price, in military gear with a helmet cam, holding an assault rifle in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Infinity Ward/Activision

YouTube will no longer restrict violent video game content starting today, as announced in a new Google support post.

This means that “future gaming uploads that include scripted or simulated violence may be approved instead of being age-restricted” and that “there will be fewer restrictions for violence in gaming.” Google will continue to protect viewers from real-world violence, though. Likewise, if the video solely centers on gory content, like “dismemberment, decapitations, [or] showing of human corpses with severe injuries,” it’ll still likely get age-restricted.

While this change will help creators uploading videos of Call of Duty and Gears of War gameplay avoid getting age-restricted, this change has no effect on the advertiser-friendly guidelines, which means that gratuitous depictions of violence in video games still may face limited or no ads, depending on the situation.

“We know there’s a difference between real-world violence and scripted or simulated violence — such as what you see in movies, TV shows, or videos games — so we want to make sure we’re enforcing our violent or graphic content policies consistently,” a YouTube representative said in the company’s support post.

Last year, even a White House video depicting violence in video games was restricted, making it so any YouTube viewers using Restricted Mode, a setting typically used in schools and libraries, couldn’t view it. Because the focus of that particular video is to showcase gore in video games, it likely still won’t be unrestricted.