The world of videogame streaming continues to get more challenging. While more people than ever are streaming their own gameplay, and more people are watching others play, the industry is going through industry growing pains. The most recent challenge against the norms in videogame streaming comes thanks to Fortnite, who accidentally created a new challenge for streamers on Twitch and YouTube with the latest event, Nexus War.
For those who do not know, Fortnite regularly runs specialized events. These often involve licensed characters, special music, and run for a limited amount of time. Nexus War, which ran last week, included all of these features. The event saw players battle against the Marvel character Galactus in a ten-minute fight. As part of this fight, players were treated to AC/DC's Demon Fire while on the Battle Bus. For standard players, having music that you recognize played while psyching yourself up for a battle is great, but for streamers, it could be a disaster.
The problem, of course, comes in through the DMCA strike system. While the name comes from YouTube, the concept is universal. The owner of the rights to media, whether it be audio, video, still images, etc., can strike user generated content on platforms like Twitch and YouTube if the use violates their rights. Twitch and its users have long ignored the law, using whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. It ended with users getting emails about deletion, for which Twitch has apologized.
However, this clump of emails signaled the beginning of changes to the way Twitch is looked at from Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). RIAA has begun issuing strikes against streamers for using music in their streams for which they do not have the rights. This will likely include AC/DC's Demon Fire, as Epic Games did not secure streaming rights to the song - only in-game rights. However, Epic Games will not be involved in any violation claims because of the songs - that will come down to the streamers themselves.
We are beginning to see game developers include a "royalty free" music option in their games to make things easier for streamers. Epic Games is not yet one of those studios, meaning that streamers either cannot play Fortnite, have to mute part of the game's load process, or risk strikes. None of these options are great for small streamers who may not know about the laws that restrict their ability to stream the first 60 seconds of a game.
All industries see growing pains, but in this case it's the customers that are in peril - not the providers. This is a problem that will need to be solved quickly if Twitch wants to maintain its growth and streamer interest.