In today’s day and age, game streaming is bigger than ever. Sites like Twitch and YouTube are host to millions of streamers who beam game content to audiences across the world. What started out a niche career for a very select group of fans has now ballooned into a billion-dollar industry that’s growing by the minute. Streaming has become a mainstay in the game industry, completely changing how developers and publishers spread the word on their projects.
No matter a game’s genre or size, you can be sure someone is streaming it. That said, there are certain titles that you know are going to be the focus of streamers and viewers for months to come. The upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 is without a doubt one of those titles. Millions upon millions are gearing up for the game’s launch, and countless others are excited to see their favorite streamers dive into Night City and create content. Developer CD Projekt Red is keenly aware of this, which has led them to create a feature we really haven’t seen in other titles before.
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Those who stream games can face a number of technical setbacks, but none more frustrating than copyright issues. Depending on the game, developer, and publisher, streamers can be hit with copyright strikes or takedowns for showing certain games. Sometimes those issues stem from particular gameplay segments a publisher doesn’t want to be shown, but more often the problems are tied to audio. While a certain song in a game might be cleared for use, that usage doesn’t include rights for streaming to audiences, nor does it allow for third-party monetization. The end result is a muted stream, a streamer who gets their video taken down, and sometimes legal issues.
CD Projekt Red wants to make sure those planning to stream the game don’t have to deal with these issues. They’re giving streamers a way to avoid these potential setbacks by including a “Disable Copyrighted Music” option. While much of the music and audio found in the game was specifically created for Cyberpunk 2077, there are some licensed tracks that will play in clubs, on car radios and more. If those tracks come up while a streamer is putting on a show, they could be hit with a copyright issue soon after. To avoid all that, streamers can activate the “Disable Copyrighted Music” option, which will remove any troublesome tracks from the game, allowing streamers to play on without worry.
It’s not the most elegant solution, but it’s an important fix nonetheless. Not being able to hear the audio developers chose for a game can certainly change the mood and vibe that they were going for, but it’s better than stopping a stream in its tracks or causing a headache for the streamer. Developers have seen what a streaming presence can do to raise awareness for their games, and they certainly don’t want to miss out on that. It’s an incredible wave of free publicity that can lead to major support from consumers. CD Project Red could very well have the biggest game of the year on their hands, and there’s no way they want to kneecap the streaming coverage.
While CD Projekt Red might not be the first or the most high-profile company to offer streamers a way to combat copyright issues, they certainly won’t be the last. Developers and publishers alike need to keep both streamers and streaming audiences in mind going forward. It’s likely we’ll see more games releasing with the same sort of features CD Projekt Red has included. Hopefully, we’ll get even better solutions to the problem as time rolls on. Either more sophisticated tech instead of an opt-in/opt-out toggle or better agreements between game creators and licensees to protect streamers. There’s a long way to go from here, but CD Projekt Red has ushered in the industry’s first big step for streamers.
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Kevin Cassidy has been covering all things Nintendo for over 15 years now and has been leading the weekly GoNintendo Podcast for just as long. Kevin is also quite passionate about pro wrestling, anime, comic books, and more! Follow Kevin on Twitter via @GoNintendoTweet.