Nintendo: Starting A Trend, Not In A Good Way

smashbrosuNintendo has announced a plan to monetize Let’s Play videos on Youtube. Let me explain before you get too excited. Nintendo will not be paying people for Let’s Play videos, quite the opposite. Instead of advertising revenue being a two-way split with the person posting the content and Youtube, it will now be a three-way split to get Nintendo a share of the money.

Last year Nintendo cracked down on any video content from their games being posted. Since then the ad revenue has been a split between Youtube and Nintendo. The plus side of this new program is that it will allow people to create their own content and receive some reward for it, as opposed to none. The dark side of the program is that it may be the first wave of a disturbing trend. Many other companies have wanted to devise a way to garner revenue from video content. Up until now, however, no company has had the inclination to take a step against its community of content creators.


Nintendo has always been very protective over all of its assets. Last year’s crackdown was another case of that but the affiliate program seems to be somewhat of an admission as well. The company has not been able to grow its community under its current terms. Nobody wants to post videos under threat of having it removed by legal means. I have concerns that if this program becomes somewhat of a success, it will open the gates for other publishers to lay claim to revenue from all content creators.

We should be talking about Mario Kart 8 or what Nintendo will have coming for E3 but instead this is how they make news. Alas.

(Sources: JoystiqGamasutra)

Author Line

dudewantshisrugPaul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found here at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!


  1. So, Nintendo wants revenue from the sale of the game, the advertising Letsplays AND the revenue from the sales that the Letsplays will generate, and they’re not going to provide us with any support to help us do it? I can see the logic, but I don’t like it at all. That simplifies this year’s line-up a bit >.>

      1. It might, but the people that are putting together Letsplays today are talented, hard-working individuals. If this medium dries itself up, then they’ll figure out a way to keep working. It’s games I worry about. Gaming companies do create the medium in which we work, so a little piece of the pie makes sense, but Nintendo clearly hasn’t been on the side of the working artist this entire time. It’s a nice concession, but it’s clear where they’re coming at this from. If someone like Microsoft or Sony, who have invested in Streaming services and sharing platforms, however ham-handedly, want to take a little something for that, then I’m down with that. I guess I’m wondering more than anything, how big is this piece? How many more views do I need to generate in order to eat?

      2. It will get really twisted when companies change the EULA and it won’t just be a revenue deal with Youtube. Think about gaming sites like Giant Bomb, IGN, and Rooster Teeth having to pay publishers revenue from their site.

      3. Yes, fewer companies would be represented by larger sites that can support the revenue. Smaller sites will close and we will have fewer gaming videos. Those people who can’t work in games will make their own stuff. That’s why it’s gaming that I worry about. They can really only pull revenue from people that are using their content in violation of copyright law. So, sites that are reporting on things, sufficiently changing its content or using clips of appropriate length won’t have to pay anything. You can only grab revenue from the places you can grab revenue from, unless you change the law, which is a whole other can of beans. It would suck if they thought they could do that, or if they thought it would be a good idea, but I don’t think anyone in charge is quite that dumb. Slimy, maybe, dumb, probably not. This move by Nintendo doesn’t, to me at least, foreshadow that kind of change, because it doesn’t make economic sense for anyone BUT Nintendo. Let’s wait until we have more info before we worry about this data point becoming a counter-intuitive industry trend. But, I’m limited in what I can see. What makes you think that this will snowball into that?

      4. Because it opens the door. Once someone sees that someone else is able to get away with something they will likely try to follow. Look at microtransactions. I think they are a terrible idea but more and more games and publishers are incorporating them. None of us can predict the future but we take a look and see what may be ahead.

      5. Yes, but we’re learning how to use micro-transactions appropriately, and the people that aren’t are disappearing into the night. Predicting the future accurately isn’t just about applying the lessons of the past to the present; it’s also about figuring out what forces shaped that future. Micro-transactions translate directly into cash via a well-understood reward system. It’s also well within a company’s right to monetize a game any way they want. However, that’s all within-company decision-making. This is an entirely different thing. This interacts with Law, precedent, human psychology, competing business models, company image, long-term viability, copyright, individual websites, international politics… International Copyright Law to boot, which is as sticky a place as there is to be right now. I definitely think you’re right to be cautious about this move. Part of me really wants to agree with your analysis, and indeed, it does. But, I’m dubious, as always, because an open door is just that. The compulsion to walk through it is the defining factor, because a lock’s not gonna stop anyone that wants through it. Besides, if this really was possible, don’t you think the music industry would have done something like it by now?

      6. The open door is just waiting for someone to walk through it. Nintendo is taking their first step and others are watching to see what happens. I’m sure there are as many, if not more, lawyers working on this than technical engineers. But to think something won’t happen just because it hasn’t already is slightly flawed logic. By that thinking Battlefeild 4 would not have microtransactions now because it didn’t have it before. Just look around at what is happening and take a guess where things could flow. I can’t say with 100% certainty that anything will happen but I can guess at what is possible. As far as the music industry goes, they already have copyright protections and music usage rights. Yes, you find plenty of Youtube and podcast content using copyrighted material in a manner that is technically illegal. The music industry just has not taken action on a large scale to prosecute. Nintendo has already shown by their actions last year that they are willing to do so and also have legal rights to do it.

      7. Alright, well, it’s clear you don’t really know what I’m talking about. That logic would be flawed if that was the logic I was using. Let me approach this from an allegorical standpoint. Things don’t happen because they might and you happened to think about the possibility that they could. If that were true, then the world really would be as limitless as our imagination, but it isn’t. We have to act to make things happen. In the same vein, there are events and forces that shape the future. When the forces that shape the future make things likely to occur, then we can say that there is a trend of possibility. But, we need to understand those forces; we can’t overlay our understanding on them and expect them to behave in an appropriate manner. So, we start from the ground up and ask the question: why did this occur? You aren’t doing that; you’re assuming it will occur because it can occur, which is flawed logic in itself. If you’re going to say that this is a likelihood, then I’m asking you to back it up with more than a tangentially-related event. You’re free to say whatever you’d like, and, to be clear, I’m not criticising your reporting in the least, I’m just stating the purpose of the question I asked and the example I used.

        And, the music industry cracks down very hard on their copyrights. It was a joke. An example to be used to deconstruct the claim I was making, because I don’t believe I should make blanket statements without tactfully undermining them, somehow. After all, if what I was saying was truth, then I couldn’t undermine it.

        Despite their monolithic power, I think you’re over-estimating the reach of Nintendo. I look forward to seeing this unfold, and thank you for your thoughts. Despite my criticism, because of you, I’ll be more wary and aware of their decisions.

      8. You may be missing my point as well. These are the types of events that do begin to shape futures. Consider the butterfly effect where one small event can affect the events to come in a large way. If we saw a butterfly would we know or even think it could cause a rainstorm on the other side of the globe? We would not know it until after it happened and we probably would never properly identify it as the root cause.

        We can’t ask “why did this occur?” until it already has. Nintendo’s actions are but one possible catalyst. I am assuming nothing. Rather I am saying that because of Nintendo’s actions it is possible that others will follow suit and thus affect related content as a whole.

        Nintendo doesn’t have the reach that is used to and all of this may become a moot point. Maybe Nintendo abandons the program and nothing changes with related content. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’s good to see that you and other are willing to look at this situation beyond its face value.

      9. I can see your point, as well, and I understand the hubris of my predilection to chasing butterflies. But, my approach has always been to carefully track its motions to try and understand the air currents that produce the storms. That level of fidelity always intrigues me. At the same time, we’re in a field of butterflies, so I don’t have to focus on one in order to understand the aggregate movements of the swarm. Some butterflies are more important than others, though, and, from my perspective, I think that’s what you mean.

      10. No worries about the typo. There are so many things at play here. Even if we try to watch them all we are bound to miss something. Nintendo could just be the butterfly that gets the other ones moving.

  2. I think this is strictly an intellectual property issue.
    Let’s Play videos will never die out but Nintendo is simply making it clear to content providers that, just as content providers can make money on Youtube, so can they.
    Why not make money on people using the product of your labor?

    1. I am not at all opposed to anybody making money off of their product. We all like money. I question how much you need to make and how you are affecting your community. If people start feeling burnt by not being able to post any videos or pictures of a game without repercussions, then there is less motivation to buy the game much less share the game’s experience. It is a fine line to walk when making a decision that will be a seen as a slight against those that want to support you and spread the word about your product. Proceed cautiously.

      1. Agreed. At the end of the day, consumers decide what happens to the community. Let’s see how things pan out.

  3. And I cancelled my Super Paper Mario Let’s Play for this to happen? Your support branches say it is not recommended and is illegal, and you go along and say this?! GOSH, NINTENDO! MAKE UP YOUR DANG MIND!

    1. They definitely could have handled this better. Alienating their community is not in their best interest. This was an attempt to gain some favor back but it is not really what people wanted.

      1. The favor? What favor? I scoff at their favor. It’s bad enough they made me cancel plans for a Let’s Play. Two months later, they come along and say this. What is wrong… I feel so alienated.

      2. Nope. That means that we get less money than expected. Forget your 50%: it just dropped to 33.3%

      3. Why not try and listen to the community’s suggestions? That might get some revenue!

      4. Nintendo has been struggling of late and not appreciating or listening to their consumers is one of the reason why they are struggling. Take a listen to our podcast about Nintendo. We discussed some things they are doing wrong and what they might be able to change.

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