Stadia exec says streamers should pay developers for game rights

Posted on October 24, 2020

The relationship between streamers and the companies that make video games is not one that is usually questioned. Publishers are usually happy for streamers to play and promote their games for audiences in exchange for the free advertising. Now Alex Hutchinson, creative director at Typhoon Studios, a development studio bought by Stadia to produce games for the streaming console, has stated on Twitter that streamers should be paying developers to play their games, a position that is proving to be quite controversial.

The real truth is the streamers should be paying the developers and publishers of the games they stream”, writes Hutchinson. “They should be buying a license like any real business and paying for the content they use.” As you might imagine, such a system would make it much harder to break into streaming, and deprive many smaller games of streamers that make up a sizeable portion of their marketing. Unusually, Google responded quite quickly by disavowing Hutchinson’s statement, advising that “The recent tweets by Alex Hutchinson, creative director at the Montreal Studio of Stadia Games and Entertainment, do not reflect those of Stadia, YouTube or Google.”

YouTube Gaming’s Ryan Wyatt confirmed that Google has no plans to make streamers pay to broadcast content, stating that “we believe that Publishers and Creators have a wonderful symbiotic relationship that has allowed a thriving ecosystem to be created. One that has mutually benefited everyone! YT is focused on creating value for Creators, Publishers, & Users. All ships rise when we work together.”

Google Stadia did not exactly launch in the best state, and even now can ill afford to offend streamers, who are some of the most prolific content creators on Twitch, YouTube and other platforms. Despite Hutchinson’s views, developers and streamers benefit equally from the current arrangement. Google knows that making streamers pay for broadcast rights would hurt both parties. The fact that Google responded so quickly reinforces that they are invested in keeping streamers onboard.