Activision and Treyarch's 2017 addition to the massive Call of Duty franchise has barely managed to get itself officially announced and already Youtubers are claiming they won't be able to make any money off the game. Granted, most of this has to do with Youtube's own subscription and age restriction changes, but it has hit the COD community particularly hard. Because of those changes, many advertisers have been pulling away from Youtube because of those age restrictions that limit content that is deemed "inappropriate for advertising."
As Kotaku reports, this has hit the Call of Duty community harder than others because with a WWII theme, and being a first-person shooter, COD: WWII is just not something that Youtubers in the community feel willing to talk about. Because if they do feature the game, well, they lose a lot of money because of those age restrictions.
Youtubers discussing the latest Call of Duty have become financially gutted even though the game has only really been a thing for a week now. Kotaku's coverage includes a video by Youtuber PrestigeIsKey in which he discusses how the age restrictions are affecting his ability to make money as a Call of Duty content creator. "At first," he said, "I thought this wouldn't affect gamers because, obviously, video games aren't real."
But since the reveal of Call of Duty: WWII, Youtube has removed monitization on several of his videos covering the subject. This flies directly in the face of Polygon's reading of the new Youtube rules.
And it isn't just PrestigeIsKey who is feeling this. Many other channels have been facing similar problems.
For those asking, yeah that's really low. That's like a $0.15 CPM. Usually it's 10-20x that 😱
— TmarTn (@TmarTn) May 1, 2017
And it doesn't even make much sense, as one Twitter user pointed out.
So how come there's ads for violent games.. but all gaming YouTube creators content are being demonetised? That just doesn't make sense :/
— jake (@_JacobThomas__) May 4, 2017
Kotaku's rundown of those rules are pretty easy for everyone to understand, so I'm just going to block quote it.
In March, YouTube introduced "brand safety controls." Advertisers could choose to avoid "higher risk content," like anything referencing marijuana. Channels as big as PewDiePie and H3H3Productions say they've been making way less money in comparison to their earnings from earlier this year. (YouTubers can appeal demonetization.)
Youtube's response to CoD content channels has been, essentially, for them to make more "advertiser friendly" content.
That this only started hitting Youtubers like PrestigeIsKey after the official announcement basically reveals that Youtube is targeting specific games and specific channels who showcase those games. Which is why content that features other violent, but less well known, games is still on Youtube. Still with ads.
So what does this mean, exactly? Well, other than the fact that Youtube has pretty much become a place where no one can make money covering anything that isn't rated E-for everyone, either each of these Call of Duty Youtubers need to work out a deal with Activision, or they've got little recourse but to move venues. So we might see more content creators move over to other sites that allow them monetization tools that don't come with an ad-pocalypse.