Is Playing The Game ‘Among Us’ On Your Phone Illegal?
Is the headline a little sus? Yeah. But there are a lot of legal questions surrounding the surprise hit video game "Among Us" right now.
First, let us break down what the hell "Among Us" is, and why so many people have been talking about it. Because even though it's incredibly popular right now, that JUST happened.
The game was released all the way back in 2018, and wasn't a hit right away. In fact, the game was never a hit until just a few short weeks ago. The game started popping up all over the place after online video game streamers started playing the game. It was a very organic way to create a sudden hit...the game found a few players in one country, that triggered a game sales website's metric to feature certain games who have been downloaded a lot. Then an online streamer saw that feature for the game, downloaded it and started playing it with other big name video game streamers.
Once those audiences saw the game, they downloaded it. Then even bigger streamers found it, and started playing it online in front of more people, and all of those people then started downloading it. Growing to the point where one of the biggest online streamers, PewDiePie, started playing a lot, meaning his massive audience started downloading it...
But because this was a very small game, from a very small company, released 2 years ago, the game doesn't have the most balanced "Terms of Service" rules in place. Which is why there are so many legal questions coming up around the game.
The first question, the one from my headline, is pretty simple. It is totally legal to play the game on your phone. It's also totally legal to play it on your computer. But, there are some aspects to the game's growth that do appear to be illegal.
All of those streamers who helped make the game a surprise hit, that was likely all illegal.
According to one of the leading "Video Game Lawyers" on Youtube, Richard Hoeg of Hoeg Law, the act of streaming "Among Us" appears to have no legal standing. Through Hoeg's online series Virtual Legality, he breaks down why it appears to be illegal to stream the game. Here's the entire discussion:
Now the short version, is that his conclusion is that yes, it would appear to be illegal to stream "Among Us". Based on how the "Terms of Service" with the game, its suppliers, and streaming services, the languages combined make it difficult to say that it's not illegal to stream it. But then again, why would the creators of the game ever come after streamers? We're not sure about that, but if they ever did decide to, it would appear they have an easy case.