Update: We have received statements regarding the Weedcraft Inc YouTube videos being demonetized from both Google and Devolver Digital.
A YouTube spokesman provided the following statement:
"We have clear policies that govern what videos may show ads, and content that features the sale or use of illegal or regulated drugs is not suitable for advertising. If we find a video that violates our policies, we remove ads."The e-mail we received continued on to highlight the same points as emphasized in the VentureBeat article cited below: content featuring the sale or use of illegal drugs is deemed not suitable for advertisers.
As for Devolver Digital, we received the following statement from Co-Founder Mike Wilson:
"We think it’s high time the industry has a real conversation over what content is OK and what isn’t. We all know that violence/murder is A-OK, and that sex or drugs are not, even when presented in a thoughtful way to an audience with an average age of 40, but we’ve all known that for far too long. If we want the world to take this medium more seriously, it’s time to get over ourselves and the completely erroneous idea that games are only for kids."We are still waiting on a response from Facebook and will update this piece when we receive one. Our original story continues below.
Weedcraft Inc YouTube videos are reportedly being demonetized. Stephanie Tinsley of Tinsley PR has stated that the Facebook page has been restricted and that YouTube videos posted by the game itself as well as by creators covering the game in a professional capacity have been demonetized by YouTube for violating their policy regarding illegal drugs.
A YouTube spokesman told VentureBeat that they will remove any videos that violate their policy on content involving "drugs or dangerous substances". Here is the portion of the policy that the Weedcraft Inc YouTube videos appear to be falling afoul of:
Drugs and dangerous products or substancesWeedcraft Inc being restricted due to this policy appears to fall under a somewhat murky area. It could be argued that the game features the sale and use of illegal drugs, but it could just as easily be argued that it falls under the exception provision for artistic content.
Video content that promotes or features the sale, use, or abuse of illegal drugs, regulated drugs or substances, or other dangerous products is not suitable for advertising. Videos discussing drugs or dangerous substances for educational, documentary, and artistic purposes are generally suitable for advertising, so long as drug use or substance abuse is not graphic or glorified.
"We have never tried to market a game and faced this much resistance,” Devolver executive Mike Wilson stated to VentureBeat's GamesBeat vertical. "Who knew tycoon games would be such a controversial subject that so many potential marketing partners would not want to be involved? It’s absurd given the actual content of the game."
Facebook ads have also been blocked as well as the Weedcraft Inc page being impacted by it.
Stephanie Tinsley requests that anyone who has had their videos demonetized DM her on Twitter while they try to get this issue resolved. I reviewed Weedcraft Inc and found it to be a generally enjoyable tycoon game with a lot of fun surprises. We've reached out to YouTube, Facebook, and Tinsley PR for statements on this issue and will update this article as new details come to light.
What do you think of Weedcraft Inc YouTube videos being demonetized? Do you think the game falls afoul of YouTube's content policy? Let us know in the comments below!