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Alex Hutchinson, senior creative director for Google Stadia and co-founder of Typhoon Studios, believes that streamers should be made to pay royalties to the developers and publishers of the games they play.
Hutchinson shared his thoughts over Twitter, apparently in response to the recent string of controversial and unexpected DMCA takedowns over music copyright. He suggested that streamers "should be more worried" about streaming games "they didn't pay for, because it's all gone as soon as publishers decide to enforce copyright".
"The real truth is the streamers should be paying the developers and publishers of the games they stream," he added. "They should be buying a license like any real business and paying for the content they use."
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.- Alex Hutchinson (@BangBangClick) October 22, 2020
Unsurprisingly, a number of popular streamers, content creators, and journalists took issue with Hutchinson's statement. British YouTuber DanTDM, boasts over 23 million subscribers, and blasted the Stadia director's "terrible take".
"The amount of exposure streamers and YouTubers give to games just by playing them is worth major $$$ by itself," he argued. "Some games ONLY market through influencers now because it's so strong and works. You're also Creative Director at Stadia. Stadia literally paid me and many others to promote their product."
"Were you sleeping when YouTube did this a few years ago, and 99% of companies actively said they wanted content creators to play their games?" added popular YouTuber and streamer Hannah Rutherford. "Did you miss things like EULAs? Publishers WANT content creators. I guess we'll see if consumers want Stadia."
Taking a swing at streamers is a gutsy marketing move for Stadia, I'll give you that- Henry Gilbert (@hEnereyG) October 22, 2020
Alex Hutchinson when KatieLevel45 streams Genshin Impact to an audience of 4 people on Twitch without paying her ransom fee to a billion dollar companypic.twitter.com/YYkifO7q0R- ICN (@DA1CON_) October 22, 2020
"Hello. My name is Alex Hutchinson and I have no idea how PR or marketing works. Please send help." https://t.co/obSIZoYjgt- :jack_o_lantern: Captain Richard :jack_o_lantern: (@RichardOnTwitch) October 22, 2020
Despite the overwhelming backlash, Hutchinson has doubled down on his original statement: "[It's] 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."
Amazingly, Hutchinson doesn't seem to have considered that developers and publishers make their money by selling the games they make. If a streamer or content creator hasn't used their own money to purchase a game - in which case they have already literally given money to the developer - then they've been provided with a code by the publisher because the publisher wants them to stream the game.
Unsurprisingly, Google has since released its own statement distancing itself from Hutchinson. A company rep said 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".
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