Dreams are a game for making games. And not just games, but music, animation and art, all through commanding creative tools provided by Media Molecule developers. Players made surreal food for breakfast and 90-minute detective games all through the seven-day early access period, and made a community to lecture each other tricks they learned or to present incredible creations they had found. There is only one huge problem: there is no way to completely release a Dreams game (called confusing a "dream") out of the tool in which it was built.
Media Molecule has announced that it wants to give creators commercial rights and the ability to export from PlayStation 4, where Dreams is an special title released by Sony Entertainment. But there has been no processing of how or when this will take place. Aptly now, the only ones who benefit financially from the creativeness and work of these players are the developer and the publisher.
But as with all games, Dreams and player creations can be experienced somewhere else (albeit in limited form) thanks to social media, YouTube and streaming. This is something Cameron Kunzelman notes in his piece on Dreams as a fenced-in garden, where all shared on open-air platforms serves as an ad to get more people into the game. This ad does nothing for those who made the creations. They could gain more attention in the Dreams ecosystem, but there is no tangible reward for this. It is mainly Media Molecule and Sony that benefit. But streamers and YouTubers, who hatch and transmit their discoveries outside of dreams, also have ways to make money on their content.
"I want to be given credit if the roles are reversed."
The fairness (and legality) of broadcasting a game to a non-paying audience of original developers has long been a complex issue. Dreams further complicate it by highlighting the work of players who are also unpaid creators and who earn nothing. In this way, the bordering analogue system of Dreams comes not from games, but from small plot videos. Creators at Vine, TikTok and now Byte all have their content extracted to be uploaded to YouTube video editorial, often without credit. But users of YouTubers who upload them can have tens of millions of views and the associated publicity money.
All through the first Dreams access session, video creators have done something similar to player creations. But theirs is a more involved process than making a vine collection. Taking care of the Dreams' massively diverse library of creations is a skill in itself, and videos often include commentary and entertainment, all of which are her job. These YouTubers also tend to be part of the community (counting sometimes Dreams creators themselves) and want to give game creators what they can. At least, that means clear credit.
Content creator The Genesis project, preferred to be referred to only by his name, Franck, was recently signed by media maker Molecule as the "best streamer" and "community star" of the Dreams all through the Impy awards ceremony. Its editorial videos permanently include lists of creations in the description, as well as a link to the "indreams" website, where players can save the game to play when they return to their PS4. "I find it vital to credit, because I want to be given credit if the roles are reversed," he clarifies.
Lee and Sam, a married couple who also preferred to skip their surname, made a video as a Hideous Making a bet Sofa on YouTube. They say the credit was a conversation they had "very early" in the history of their channel. "We reckon [it’s] is very vital," I was told. "We permanently take the time to publish the layer name, the creator name … and a link [indreams] at the level so it can be easily found." When their videos are in the form of large collections, for example "35 Dreams in 6 Summary," they say they are careful about timing each creation for the convenience of the viewer. "Half the reason why we make these videos is to help give positive attention to Dreams and creators, so doing something less than that would be counterproductive," they clarify.
"I like to reckon that 'Dreams' will become the next place for creative expression."
Other YouTubers users have different processes. Sakku, who questioned to be named after his channel, did not list the creators or their links in the description. But their collections are permanently edited to include a shot of the game's title card "why I want to show the creators' names and how everyone can access the dream at Dreamperse". "I reckon people's credit is vital, I made this series in the first place to show my community of other creators and the incredible things they do as well as all possible with Dreams."
It's not as convenient as Franck or Lee and Sam's clickable links, but Sakku isn't the only one upstairs hallway on this solution. Media Molecule broadcasts the creations of players every week on Twitch. The streams are then uploaded to YouTube, but no additional notes are added to the description. Some viewers made markers with the title of the dream in the comments themselves for the convenience of others.
Media Molecule is a very different kind of curator than the other YouTubers in the Dreams community. While each video serves as a kind of publicity for the game, Media Molecule's are much more direct, produced by the company's direct employees. While many of the YouTubers I've talked to who want to do their work, either full-time or part-time, are mostly hobbyists.
"Asparagus Standup" by Redep1994.
In addition to benefiting more from other YouTube curators, Media Molecule does not have to worry about being credited as its players. All creations are watermarked with "Made in Dreams", either played on PS4 or recorded for sharing somewhere else. That way, it's impossible to share without charitable in to the game, even if the real creator is hidden.
The Media Molecule also runs for reasons other than community feeds. The release date trailer states that it is "full of wonderful community creations", but no one is credited. EULA Early Access has players sign user-made content "for any purpose, counting the promotion, publicity, sale and redistribution of software." It also states that "you or any third party will not be compensated for the use of your user material" (Media Molecule did not answer to a request for comment at the time of publication).
The trailer is reminiscent of the first collection of Dreams I saw, made by YouTuber going from the Jiar300. Called "2 Seconds by 300 Different Dreams Vol. 2," it shows such a wide diversity of player creations that even getting some to be representative feels reductive. He says his goal was to "show people a instant look at what is possible in Dreams".
"It's hard to tell the author every detail."
The video has no credit cards. "I want to credit everyone, but the process of prose every name and creator will take centuries," he says. Besides, he points out, players can elevate the creations of others and use them in their own games, so "it's hard for the author to tell every detail." It is right that even the best video credit shows only who place the closing creation together, not who did the composite parts. Credit blurring is embedded in Dreams. The only premium credit goes to Media Molecule and Sony.
Not surprisingly, those who have invested enough to make through the early Dreams access period do not seem to mind making for the sake of their own satisfaction. Therefore, YouTube remedies are a pleased part of the process. "We had a unanimous positive response from the [creator’s] work," Lee and Sam say. "Our creators have brought us back that they like to see people play and encounter what they have gathered. It provides validation by considering that their dream, having spent so much time at work, is truly playful and enjoyable! Considering the game playing a name else also helps identify ways to improve the point of their games as they see the player react in ways they did not anticipate. "They also say that the creators have arrived to question them to present they had their dreams afterwards.
The YouTubers I spoke with also expressed a sense of responsibility for the accomplishment of Dreams. Sakkou said one of their goals was to help "the whole project grow". "My overall goal is to show people how incredible the Dreams really are," Franck told me. "I like to reckon that Dreams will become the next place for creative expression, like YouTube for video, Instagram for pictures, SoundCloud for music," says Jiar300.
In the compact video industry, the battle for who has rights to uploaded content has been won by – more than – one company. The digital rights management firm Collab now often issues copyright strikes on the vine collections, paying the creators after receiving their cut. This does not seem to be the case with Dreams for many reasons, counting that the issue of who owns copyright in his creations is unclear. Instead, the heterogeneous relationship between creators and Media Molecule and Sony will continue to play in and out of the game, with YouTubers and streamers trapped in the middle.