Square Enix: Monetizing Final Fantasy XIV Videos Not Allowed

Square Enix–the publisher and developer of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn–has issued a blanket-wide ban on the monetization of videos and materials related to the game.

Square isn’t the only game publisher clamping down on the monetization of “Let’s Play” videos featuring their IP: back in May, Nintendo went as far as to enforce their own ads on YouTube videos featuring Nintendo franchises, creating an uproar in the Let’s Play community. It’s yet to be seen if Square plans to monetize user-created FFXIV videos for themselves, or what.

The official FFXIV terms and conditions comes with a license that applies to the following materials: “All art, text, logos, videos, screenshots, images, sounds, music and recordings from FFXIV.”

Specifically, the materials usage license offers specific terms and conditions for videos, which reads as follows:

  • The video must not require a paid membership for viewing;
  • You may not monetize your video via the YouTube partner program or any similar programs on other video sharing sites.
  • You may not split our videos (vocal, music, visual, etc.) and distribute components as separate assets;
  • You may not combine or synchronize the Materials with third party content (e.g., a mash-up), but you may include the Materials alongside third party content (e.g., before or after in the same video) as long as you also have permission from the original copyright owner);
  • The video must not contain racist, sexist, homophobic or generally offensive content of any kind. This includes graphic violence or sexually explicit content.

We’ve reached out to Square Enix to find out whether the terms and conditions apply only to pre-recorded videos (e.g. YouTube) or whether the license is also applicable to livestreams on Twitch.tv and other livestreaming services with channel monetization.

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8 Comments on Square Enix: Monetizing Final Fantasy XIV Videos Not Allowed

Fletcher

On August 27, 2013 at 2:28 pm

This sounds like a terrible mistake. They’re trying to bring this game back and by cutting off lets plays or just videos in general, they are really cutting down on potential customers. How can they expect to get more players if people cannot view the experiences of other players playing this game?

Bad move, Square Enix, very bad move.

Mike

On August 27, 2013 at 7:48 pm

I must admit I’m a little confused, they aren’t saying you can’t make walkthroughs and let’s play videos, they’re saying you just can’t make money off of them right? How is that any different than what the NFL and the other major sports state at the beginning of any broadcast saying that any selling of their materials or broadcasts without the express written consent of said organization is prohibited? Why is everyone in an uproar about these things?

Tanami

On August 28, 2013 at 1:24 am

@Mike

I used to make lets play’s, and the whole monetization aspect of it is a total mess, It put me off making more video’s (amongst other things).
It takes a lot of work to make proper gaming video’s, And you want something in return from it, being money or a lot of subs. By monetizing (putting advertisements on your video) the video’s can then generate some money.
These are pennies we are talking about for small creators like me (Think 17 cents in a month). And even creators with a big following can’t make good money of it to make a living (people still need to click the ads). You need to be affiliated with some bigger company to get some serious money, or have generous followers who donate.
The problem I had was that I was not allowed to put ads on my video’s, but the game company put his ads on my video’s. So they get the free advertisement for their game, plus they take the pennies for video’s I made with a lot of care. To me its a principal thing, and it put me off making any more. Not because I wasn’t making money, but how arrogant the game companies are. Just try to get written permission for your video’s is impossible, they just ignore your request. (Ubisoft being the exception, who made a clear policy that you are allowed to monetize your videos using their games)

MIke

On August 28, 2013 at 10:54 am

@Tanami

So it would be preferred if the gaming companies set up a “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,” kinda thing? Okay, that clears things up for me, thanks for that. But if you want to continue these things, I don’t know if indignation is the right thing. From my understanding, they could have cracked down on the Let’s Play community at any time. To quote from the back of my Dark Souls copy, “Unauthorized copying, reverse engineering, TRANSMISSION, PUBLIC PERFORMANCE, rental, pay for play, or circumvention of copy protection is strictly prohibited.” Please correct me if I’m wrong, but those caps’d sections seem to cover Let’s Play videos. Look, I like Let’s Play videos. I use some (like Gamefront’s) to determine if I’ll purchase an indie game or not (got Mercenary Kings because of Mitch and James), but legally these companies seem to have every right to crack down if they want on people making money off it. I sincerely hope that changes, and that more companies follow Ubisoft’s lead, but outside of that I don’t see anything you can do except keep asking and petitioning them to change their minds.

Joeseppi

On August 28, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Streamers should also have the same restrictions! Look at television and cable, they PAY for the content they broadcast OR their network creates the content. These streamers are making money off of content they do NOT own, they should be required to pay a royalty to anyone who owns the streamed content.

The point will be moot soon once the networks do their own streaming. For example ESPN will start streaming ESports like SC and LoL, then these little streamers will be wiped off the map anyway.

Deal with it

Valaria

On August 29, 2013 at 5:00 am

Working within the Music and Gaming Industry, I can honestly say that I’ve got no problem with this and I shall keep my reply solely based on the Let’s Play video aspect.

I’ve never been able to understand the idea of why people think that they should get paid for their videos – if they are using something that belongs to somebody else – and usually without permission.

A Let’s Play video uses intellectual property that another person, group of people or company has spent money to create and usually lots of it.

Personally, I think that the only way to sort this problem out is for Google to bring in a rule that they will only monetize videos that are made with 100% original user created content, including the soundtrack…

Just putting up a video of your experience in a game – that usually, you are only licensed to play, I might add – regardless of the amount of time taken to create the video, shouldn’t entitle you to be paid for it…

In this particular example, I sincerely doubt that Square Enix are going to be bothered if nobody makes a Final Fantasy XIV Let’s Play video…yet…considering the fact that the game is so popular that they have had to suspend selling it…

Ron Whitaker

On August 29, 2013 at 5:57 am

@Valaria – Just to clarify: Square stopped selling the game because their servers aren’t handling the current load, and selling the game to more people who couldn’t play would be a horrifically bad PR move.

As to Let’s Play videos, people subscribe to Let’s Play channels because they enjoy the personalities. People like TotalBiscuit, or our own Mitch and James, have followings. They bring value to the presentation. That value is what they’re being compensated for, and the game company gets goodwill generated, as well as having people see their game. In many cases, these videos drive sales.

There’s a reason that tons of companies rushed to confirm that they’re fine with Let’s Play videos and to confirm that they allow monetization. It’s a win-win for them, in terms of both PR and sales. They can show support for the community while also having sales driven by content creators who are being paid by someone else.

That’s why it’s big news when someone says that you can’t monetize their games – they’re outliers. The vast majority of companies don’t mind this at all.

psycros

On August 29, 2013 at 10:15 am

Square-Enix, bolding going bankrupt.