Published on February 2nd, 2015 | by Dan6
Nintendo Creators Program Is a Bad Deal For Everyone
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.