Earning money on YouTube while playing video games is a fast-growing trend.

Although it may seem easy to create gaming videos, creators should still consider that YouTube policies and guidelines are still applied to all content uploaded to your channel - video or live stream, thumbnail, title, description, and tags - and any violation could affect the monetization status of your videos and your channel as a whole.

Below are some examples from YouTube's advertiser-friendly content guidelines that are related to gaming topics. All monetization changes may apply to videos featuring both real or computer-generated subjects if there are policy violations in audio or visual form including text. This includes the video thumbnail and title.

Inappropriate language

  • Turn on ads: light profanities such as “damn” or “hell”; fully censored or abbreviated profanities in the title, thumbnail, and video such as "WTF" or “What the ****”; infrequent usage of strong profanity

  • Limited ads: moderate profanities including partial censorship or misspellings in titles or thumbnails such as "What a bull sh1t"; strong profanities used frequently throughout a video such as the f-word; multiple uses of strong profanities within the first 30 seconds such as “shit,” “bitch”

  • No ads: extreme profanities or racial slurs such as the n-word ; strong or extreme profanity even when misspelled such as “You d!ck!”, “c*nt,” “n***er,” “fa**ot

Adult content

  • Turn on ads: non-gratifying sexual topics; regular romantic scenes; non-arousing portrayal of limited clothing

  • Limited ads: sex toys or similar pleasure enhancement products not in use; implied sex acts; descriptive sexual topics referenced in gameplay; highly sexualized titles

  • No ads: visible sexual acts or sexual body fluids; a game story that features sex-related entertainment as a part of the plot; explicit and vulgar titles such as “hot s3x”


  • Turn on ads: graphic violence; censored clips of graphic violence such as the moment of a kill

  • Limited ads: edited video gameplay emphasizing graphic violence or gore in the video such as zooming in or encircling the moment of graphic violence

  • No ads: depiction of a single graphic violence scene such as an extreme fatality moment; compilation of the graphic scenes such as compilation of extreme kills

Controversial issues

  • Turn on ads: brief or fleeting references to any of the topics or events listed in No Ads column such as usage of the word “suicide” in a video game context

  • Limited ads: graphic depictions of controversial issues in the thumbnail such as someone getting abused; dramatized or artistic depictions of controversial issues that are not highly graphic

  • No ads: graphic depictions or detailed descriptions of controversial issues such as child abuse, pedophilia, child marriage, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, self-harm, suicide, eating disorders, domestic abuse, abortion, bullying; explicit audio of the act taking place

Sensitive events

  • Turn on ads: passive mentions of sensitive events as one of many topics during gameplay; gaming content portraying Foreign terrorist organizations (FTO) as a general subject without footage of terrorist attacks; portraying Drug trade organizations (DTO) or their members; comedic videos with fleeting references to FTOs or DTOs

  • Limited ads: content focused primarily on specific DTOs or DTO leaders and may include non-graphic situations of attacks or and their aftermath, hostage situations, etc.

  • No ads: games based on an actual sensitive or tragic event that happened such as 9/11 simulation game

Gaming monetization policies apply to in-game cutscenes or cinematics, reaction videos, conversation/voiceover gameplay, texts or graphics inserted in the video, comments captured and legible on your video, gambling content related to gameplay, long-form content, and violations presented as a focal subject.

Thumbnails and titles

Shocking and stimulating phrases are often added to thumbnails or titles to attract viewers. However, just as with video content, violative elements identified in thumbnails or titles will also earn limited or no ads.

Sample thumbnails:

  • Encircling or otherwise calling to attention such as highlighting blurred genitals

  • Lewd text related to sex acts such as “watch this character ejaculate”

  • Images that are shocking, such as explicit sex acts or graphic violence

Sample titles:

  • Fully spelled-out, censored, or intentionally misspelled profanities such as “what the f#%k”

  • Misleading titles promising sexual content

  • Titles with adult-only references such as 19+ or ADULT ONLY

  • All caps used in the title to catch attention such as “EXTREME FATALITY WINS”

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