Nintendo Reveals Plan to ‘Share’ Revenue with YouTube ‘Let’s Play’ Video Makers

UPDATE: Kotaku wrangled a statement out of Nintendo.

"Nintendo has been permitting the use of Nintendo copyrighted material in videos on YouTube under appropriate circumstances. Advertisements may accompany those videos, and in keeping with previous policy that revenue is shared between YouTube and Nintendo. In addition, for those who wish to use the material more proactively, we are preparing an affiliate program in which a portion of the advertising profit is given to the creator. Details about this affiliate program will be announced in the future."

Kotaku also has a few thoughts from YouTubers TotalBiscuit and Zack Scott.  Check it out here.

Original Story: Last year Nintendo started making copyright claims against 'Let's Play' video makers who were playing through their games. It earned the company some ill will, and eventually the makers of the Wii U and 3DS backed off. Now the company has unveiled a revenue sharing program for YouTube video makers that will force anyone who uses Nintendo's intellectual property in a video to split the revenue with the company.

According to several tweets from Nintendo's Japanese-language Twitter feed, the company will require anyone who wants to make a video containing their IP to first get permission from Nintendo and then split the revenue with Nintendo and Google.

The company said on its Twitter feed that it has already begun tagging videos that contain its property, and Nintendo ads are appearing on these videos.

We will have more on this story as it develops and as the YouTube video making community reacts. For those not wanting to monetize a video, this probably isn't a big deal, but for those who like Nintendo games and want to share their play experiences with the rest of the world and earn a little money, these extra steps and the loss of even more revenue might just be the straw that broke the camel's back.

Source: Gamasutra

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  1. 0
    Ultimate_Nova_X says:

    This was my first thought when I saw this. It's almost like the Wii U is not doing bad enough.

    Question: If I want to do an LP on a Rockman game for a Nintendo console, would that have any impact in relation to this vs. doing the same LP on the same game except for a Sony console?

  2. 0
    Matthew Wilson says:

    For console games it is harder to get data, but pc games it is not. Use Google Analytics and steam charts. If there is a spike of sales around the time a big LPer starts a Lets Play, and all the information I have seen suggests there is a noticeable positive impact on sales when a big LPer starts one.

  3. 0
    Neeneko says:

    For a small or indy studio that would be a big issue, but Nintendo with first party titles?  The impact of LPs is difficult to calculate, while I suspect some marketing firms out there have some real analysis, most people are just going to go with what supports their own feelings.

    Think about it, if you were going to put together a report for Nintendo, weighing revenue that can be captured vs potential decrease in revenue due to lower exposure, factoring in any such boycott would also cut into the LP`s bottom lines, how would you argue these things much less assemble estimates?  Revenue share is a nice solid number, but the others are a lot more murky.

  4. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    That's not where it would bite them.  It's the LPers with hundreds of thousands to millions of subscribers refusing to cover Nintendo games, thereby removing valuable exposure to a humongous audience that could negatively impact sales.


    Andrew Eisen

  5. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Are they though?  Does this really harm them?   How many people will actually care enough about this to actually change their buying habits over a significant amount of time?

    Generally stuff like this, a vocal minority gets worked up but still buy games at the same rates a few weeks later.

  6. 0
    faefrost says:

    So what exactly is the boundary for "IP" rights. If you post a video of yourself mowing the lawn does "Lawnboy" or "Toro" get a cut? If you post a video of driving does Ford? Typically these sorts of IP copyright claims require thatthe copyrighted thing be considered "art" and not simply "product" or "merchandise" do they not? Stuff like books, movies, music. But none of these things that are protected in this way require unique user input to make them go. In fact did not renowned expert on this sort of thing Roger Ebert famously declare that video games were not art for precisely this reason. That they were simply a medium for the user or player to express themselves and not for the creator to put forth their unsullied vision? 

    Think on that for a minute. Then think what the risks to Nintendo and everyone else are when the Youtubers have had enough and someone legally challenges Nintendo's claims. Now also note that it is clearly obvious that Nintendo's fellows in the industry rather blatantly do not feel that things such as Lets Play videos constitute any protected IP. In fact they have built the ability to record and publish such things directly into their gaming consoles. 

    So Nintendo does not have a clear definition that their product is in fact protected. Industry standards seem pretty clear that it isn't. So yeah, this could backfire hugely on Nintendo. 

  7. 0
    Matthew Wilson says:

    Notice it is mostly the Japanese companies that have a issue with this. Most western companies have realized that allowing people to do LPs boosts sales. If only because a very large section of their target market gets their information through YouTube. With the flood of games now, youtubers can cover games from companies that will not charge them, and ignore companies that do. The fact is companies need youtubers now more than ever.     

  8. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    I really do not have an issue with this because at some point and time there should be an organization of some kind to come along and get the IP owners cut of revenue sharing. THo before we get to a simple all in one industry standard its going to be hell…..

  9. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Precedent.   Youtube has built a business around just this kind of arrangement.   We may look at Nintendo as being slimy for joining in, they have to weigh community backlash against stockholder backlash, and stockholders tend to have a lot more focus then game communities.  

    Chances are most gamers will not hear about the deal, or really care, or even if they do, they will forget in a few weeks.

    Stockholders on the other hand, tend to not forget 'well, we had a way to make money with little additional cost, but we did not do it' all that quickly.  They get downright cranky.

  10. 0
    grenaid says:

    Control. They don’t give a shit about the tiny amounts of money. By claiming a share of ownership over these videos they can take down the ones they don’t like.

  11. 0
    RedMage says:

    Will someone explain to me why Nintendo wants a cut of ad money that people are getting for promoting Nintendo's games at zero cost to Nintendo? This would be like an ad agency paying Nintendo in order to promote their products.

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