Published on February 2nd, 2015 | by Dan


Nintendo Creators Program Is a Bad Deal For Everyone

This is a community article from Justin R.  If you want to be part of shaping content on KBMOD, email [email protected] with article ideas or submissions.

UPDATE: Nintendo has clarified the rules for registered channels…and actually made this even worse!  You now must delete any non-Nintendo videos and even Nintendo game footage not on the companies approved list, on the registered channel, on top of only posting Nintendo content.

A new beta service implemented by Nintendo aims to share advertising revenue with YouTubers who post gameplay videos featuring Nintendo games. Under the “Nintendo Creators Program”, any individual video will get 60 percent of revenue earned, and registered channels that are dedicated to producing Nintendo-only content will earn 70 percent. Ready to sign up? Just know that Nintendo admits those rates may “be changed arbitrarily”.

Uhoh. The collective gaming community has not reacted well towards the fine print – the wording might mean that a video registered through Nintendo’s new service could get a lower revenue rate based on the content being negative, or other factors. Jeff Gerstmann of Giant Bomb took to Twitter, saying “The more I read about Nintendo’s “Creators Program, the more it looks like we’re no longer going to upload Nintendo coverage to YouTube.”

Nintendo is not new to controversy regarding the handling of its own copyrighted content. In December 2013, it issued ContentID match claims on YouTube videos containing Nintendo content of “images or audio of a certain length”, but offered to let YouTubers keep their content online by inserting Nintendo ads into their videos. This program will be supplemented with the “Creators Program”, according to Nintendo.

Although this might seem like a console specific problem, Nintendo’s actions towards IP management is part of an overall theme in the industry where developers across every platform have voiced their opinion about how their copyrighted materials are viewed. Given YouTube’s popularity and its ability to act as an advertising platform for games through Lets Plays, speed runs, gameplay commentaries, etc., it makes sense that some developers have attempted to influence how their materials are displayed.

After the ContentID controversy in December 2013, Ubisoft’s Senior Communications Manager posted to the company blog, reiterating the company’s stance on content creation: Ubisoft “considers [themselves] fortunate to have fans creating great content based on [their] brands”. On the other side of the spectrum, EA has developed a program which pays YouTubers to promote games like Battlefield 4 and Need for Speed: Rivals, which allegedly forbids users from telling their audience that they are endorsing an EA game, even though the Federal Trade Commission requires them to by law.

It’s clear that, due to the massive crowds that some content creators command, game developers and publishers have taken a growing interest in regulating and dictating how their intellectual property is portrayed on sites like YouTube. However, the excessive use of force to shape the content that is produced with their games will only result in bad PR and an injured relationship with gamers. One can only hope that publishers will begin to recognize this before they succeed in stifling YouTubers’ freedom of expression.

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6 Responses to Nintendo Creators Program Is a Bad Deal For Everyone

  1. David Ratcliff says:


  2. seanbutnotheard says:

    While I agree with the article and comments, unfortunately there’s that whole “but they make some damn popular games” elephant lingering in the room and telling Nintendo they can basically do whatever the hell they want…

    I don’t want to go off on some rant about intellectual property (because I definitely could), but to make a long story short, this is just another symptom of our “permission culture,” within which people think they can control what others do with their content, and in extreme cases make legal threats, if other works contain so much as a hair’s breadth of borrowed material.

    • JRendizzle says:

      Thanks for the comment Sean! I definitely felt like I was ranting a bit by the end of the article, but I only included a few examples of the overarching theme of attempts to regulate use of copyrighted material – there are so many more that I would have loved to include.

      I do agree that since Nintendo makes blockbuster games for the casual crowds, its core audience won’t really care for the most part about Nintendo’s PR blunders.

  3. Nipnops says:

    Nintendo is as backwards as it gets. This article doesn’t even mention how they tried to shut down Smash at Evo last year.

  4. Ryan Kapsar says:

    If your established as a YouTuber already there’d be no benefit for helping Nintendo as you’re basically just giving them a ready made platform and 30-40% of your ad revenue. Even if they promote you, it’d take a while before you grow enough to replace the revenue loss.

    If you’re too small they probably won’t let you partner with them, so there’s no benefit to partner until you grow large enough for them to promote you. So you’d be doing most of the hard work alone anyway, so why bother using Nintendo at all?

    Companies have always tried to control their content and always will. The problem is that many of them are so short sighted that they cannot see the benefit from the community. Community drives the longevity of games, if you want your game to be played and relevant years from now embrace community and encourage them. Don’t abuse them. Pretty simple, but these guys don’t get that.



I put the OO in Swagoo. One of the founders of KBMOD. I stream on Twitch as well as writing and editing for the website.

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