Microsoft, or more importantly their lawyers, have gone and updated their Game Content Usage rules. This means that anyone wishing to share or create content that features a Microsoft published or developed game has to jump through some hoops first.
So, what are these rules that Microsoft want you to adhere by? And what happens if you don’t do so?
Well, they’ll probably come round to your virtual house and break your legs (read: they probably wont). You’ll be looking at having your content removed and possible legal action being undertaken if you’ve broken some of the more major rules though.
The most important rules to remember are:
1. Don’t make money from your creations – this includes YouTube advertising or using it for advertising too.
2. Make sure you include a disclaimer at the beginning of your video if you’re creating something intended for canon, or at the end if it isn’t:
“[Name of the Microsoft Game] © Microsoft Corporation. [The title of your Item] was created under Microsoft’s “Game Content Usage Rules” using assets from [Name of the Microsoft Game]. It is not endorsed by Microsoft and does not reflect the views or opinions of Microsoft or anyone officially involved in producing or managing [Name of the Microsoft Game]. As such, it does not contribute to the official narrative of the fictional universe, if applicable.”
3. You can’t have the game’s title in your video. Microsoft say: “we don’t object to “Red vs. Blue”. We don’t object to “Operation Chastity”. But we do object to “Halo [insert the title of your Item here]“.” their reason being that: “We want to make sure consumers don’t get confused.”
4. Anything you do create, including content that is intended to be cannon, can be taken by Microsoft and be used as official canon work – you also won’t receive any compensation for your efforts.
“If you add to the game universe or expand on the story told in the game with “lost chapters” or back story or anything like that, distribution of your story or idea may appear in a future game without any compensation to you. (Sorry, but our lawyers tell us we need to do this in order to avoid frivolous lawsuits getting in the way of making more great games.) It also means we can put your Item on a Microsoft site or property like Halo Waypoint if we want to.”
There are plenty of other things you’re not allowed to do either, including the more understandable offensive or pornographic content creation.
It’s worth giving the whole thing a read over if you’re interested in creating original content for games – especially any that are published by Microsoft (which is a very long list).