Some video game creators are cool with people livestreaming any part of their game, others not so much. People who start playing Kingdom Hearts 3 will find a message notifying them that the companies behind the game are applying some limitations.
The game’s title screen includes an unusual button prompt labelled “before you stream.” Pressing the button produces the following message:
This game is a copyrighted work. The copyright is held by The Walt Disney Company and a collaboration of authors representing The Walt Disney Company. Additionally, the copyright of certain characters is held by Square Enix Co, Ltd.
You are free to stream the game in non-commercial contexts. However, using the streams of the game to primarily provide or listen to the music is prohibited even in such non-commercial contexts.
The streaming message isn’t exactly crystal clear. One part of it is easily understood: Square and Disney don’t want people making streams of the game’s music. But the statement is more confusing about what the rights-holders consider to be a “non-commercial” stream. The message concludes by directing players to Kingdom Hearts website, which doesn’t yet include any information about this, though it presumably will by the time the game launches in the West on Tuesday (it came out in Japan on Friday).
We asked Square Enix PR yesterday what “non-commercial” streaming would be and if it’s something that average gamers who just want to stream on Twitch or YouTube would have to worry about. They were unable to clarify that terminology yet.
Whatever the restrictions actually mean, they don’t appear to be stopping people from streaming the game. People have been streaming Kingdom Hearts 3 on Twitch since yesterday, when the game went on sale in Japan and when the the streaming embargo lifted for reviewers and gaming influencers who’d been provided advance access to the English language version of the game. At the time of this writing, there are more than a thousand people watching 88 streams of the game on Twitch.
It could be that Square and Disney’s message to streamers isn’t going to prove to be very restrictive, but clearly, the companies felt strongly enough about something related to streaming to include a notification about it on the title screen of the game. Square has issued some unusually strict streaming limitations on a game before. So far, Kingdom Hearts 3’s rules seem more chill, but as with the plot of the series they’re attached to, they add a dash of mystery to an exciting adventure.