Nintendo claiming ad revenue for user-created YouTube videos

Mario maker enforcing copyright on videos featuring its games uploaded to popular video site.

Nintendo is now claiming advertising revenue from user-created YouTube videos that feature the company's games, according to new reports.

The Japanese game giant is not following the path of music publishers and film studios in demanding this content be blocked, but rather wants to place ads surrounding videos featuring Nintendo games, like Let's Play videos. The revenue from these ads would go to Nintendo, not the video's creators.

This last point has drawn the ire of YouTube channel owner and self-professed Nintendo fan Zack Scott, who blasted the policy in an update to his Facebook page.

"I think filing claims against LPers is backwards. Video games aren't like movies or TV. Each play-through is a unique audiovisual experience," Scott said. "When I see a film that someone else is also watching, I don't need to see it again. When I see a game that someone else is playing, I want to play that game for myself! Sure, there may be some people who watch games rather than play them, but are those people even gamers?"

In response to the new policy, Nintendo provided a statement to GameFront explaining the matter.

"As part of our ongoing push to ensure Nintendo content is shared across social media channels in an appropriate and safe way, we became a YouTube partner and as such in February 2013 we registered our copyright content in the YouTube database," Nintendo said.

"For most fan videos this will not result in any changes, however, for those videos featuring Nintendo-owned content, such as images or audio of a certain length, adverts will now appear at the beginning, next to or at the end of the clips," the statement goes on. "We continually want our fans to enjoy sharing Nintendo content on YouTube, and that is why, unlike other entertainment companies, we have chosen not to block people using our intellectual property."

Nintendo's actions are in adherence with YouTube's policy guidelines, which plainly states that "just because you purchased content doesn't mean that you own the rights to upload it to YouTube." However, YouTube users who make a living from Let's Play videos or other such content are now facing an uphill battle.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

649 comments
theKSMM
theKSMM

Nintendo's approach to game-streaming is as backwards as their approach to online gaming.

Codemaster0
Codemaster0

What if you are partnered with a gaming network? Such as TGN, Machinima, etc.

stuartdotnet
stuartdotnet

Won't this just lead to less Nintendo games being cast and streamed? Seems an odd move for a company that isn't exactly leading in market share these days. I've got into playing a lot of games I otherwise wouldn't have been interested in purely because I saw them played so well by others. You'd think Nintendo would want to encourage more exposure for their games rather than less.

Mario
Mario

Anyone know if Valve is hiring?

nathangray
nathangray

The thing is, it's really not a lot of money. Very few people actually subsidize their living with LP videos and the like, it's just not that profitable, and those that do dedicate themselves to their channel to the point that it IS like a job. Those few have the ability to create those videos of such quality and regularity ~because~ they earn enough to survive off of. Take that away, and those videos (and thus that advertising) disappear entirely. LP videos are how I buy games, no joke. I don't buy them anymore until I see people playing and have a way to judge whether its worth my time or not. I don't go by so-called 'official' reviews and the like, I don't trust those people aren't paid off. Watching others play and enjoy the game however, that makes a difference. Nintendo is fishing hard for a way to make money; it shows, and it's not attractive. I'm glad I fought the urge to buy a Wii-U and any of their recent games, and it  looks like I'll continue to do so.

Hurvl
Hurvl

Lol, how insidious of them. Others go "Make it go awaaaayyyy!!!", but Nintendo goes "How can we gain from this *smirking deviously*?" and then comes with the brilliant idea of adding ads to these videos which only they will profit from. Doesn't matter if they were ad-free or not before, they'll be adding money to Nintendo now. A wonderful solution that everyone can be happy about - or rather - they'd better be happy about it, or else...

WolfGrey
WolfGrey

Well....thats pretty messed up....

Screw you.

Just lost a ton of points with me.

lorider25
lorider25

Yeah I don't see a problem. If anything, a smart move by Nintendo.

Yeah there might be some backlash, but hey, it's their content. I always thought it was weird that people were getting payed just to do a playthrough.

lingo56
lingo56

Well I guess nintendo is just trying to make all the money they can from the Wii U flop by making the only people who bought a Wii U forced not to make profit from it.

Downloadpilot
Downloadpilot

Doesn't seem like TOO much of a problem to me, as long as Nintendo doesn't start blocking users, taking down videos, removing audio, etc. from people's videos. As long as the uploader themself is a partner to youtube, they'll still be getting money from the actual video they make, while Nintendo just makes money from an ad before their video.

Umitencho
Umitencho

Nintendo should of left LPers alone or made their own YT network.

Kiaininja
Kiaininja

This move on N's part just shows how slow they are of getting with the times on technology. While Sony is encouraging people to be more social with their games by introducing the SHARE button for the PS4 and reaping free hype that will benefit them, N is clamping down on the Social revolution by dragging their feet on progress and doing backwards decisions like these. Those old farts probably also think it's too radical for them to go hardcore and give Pikmin a robust multi-player mode or make Mario's world as grand God of War.

legoislandfan
legoislandfan

Will Nintendo take all the revenue or just a cut?

Dem0nGam3r
Dem0nGam3r

A tad off subject here, but I've noticed some hate towards game commentators/let's players in this thread. I think some of the haters are simply jealous that these people make a living playing games, and maybe the fact that they do seems ridiculous to some people, but if the LP'ers/commentators are entertaining to watch and listen to, what's wrong with them getting paid for taking the time to commentate whilst playing for your entertainment? I mean, it IS advertising that generates the vast majority of their incomes, so what's so bad about that?

The way I see it, the game gets free press and promotion or their title(s) and more people become interested in the game being played (i.e. KSI with FIFA), developer/publisher wins. Google get's advertisement revenue from the people who pay to have their ads placed on YouTube, Google wins. The person who plays and commentates on the game gets a small trickle-down of the ad revenue from the Google-sponsored ads on his videos, the let's player/commentator wins.

Am I missing out on who's losing money or being damaged with this system? I mean, sure Nintendo are perfectly justified in jacking people's ad revenue, but why do it? They obviously don't NEED the money, god knows. They're just going to alienate the people who do post videos featuring their games, effectively killing the group they supposedly want to keep alive. They want it both ways; on the one hand, they're peeved that people are benefiting from their product, but they also want the money so they figure why not take the money and keep letting the teeny tiny cash cows graze on the lush advertisement pa$tures and milk the cash cows instead of blocking them so they can keep their <3 and their $. Can't have it both ways, guys. They really are a big "N" now, ain't they?

I think they're making a big mistake.

-Dem0n

14monkey
14monkey

i don't like the idea that if i ever get sponsored on you tube that some of the money i should earn goes to Nintendo...that just doesn't seem alright to me =/

telaros
telaros

"Nintendo has grown desperate, seeking new legal ways to make money. One such way is by taking revenue away from "Transformative Works" such as GameGrumps, Farfromsubtle, and other famous Let's Plays."

Nintendo is already in practical obscurity. Only ones really standing by them are those old enough to remember they used to be top tier company. To attack the ones promoting your stuff, and showing how fun or bad games on the system can be, is really stupid.

If all the Let's Play guys got together and started a Kickstarter to afford to go to court, I'd so support it. But the easy way to deal with Nintendo is boycotting everything Nintendo. Not ever even acknowledging Nintendo on their channel in any way shape of form.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yC0rtTJ-v58  for those who want to know what Nintendo's been up to. And be educated on why this is a big deal. Well, not really. I would of just pulled all Nintendo related stuff off my channel and left a big F U with a picture flipping off Nintendo on infinite loop.

telaros
telaros

"Nintendo has grown desperate, seeking new legal ways to make money. One such way is by taking revenue away from "Transformative Works" such as GameGrumps, Farfromsubtle, and other famous Let's Plays."

Nintendo is already in practical obscurity. Only ones really standing by them are those old enough to remember they used to be top tier company. To attack the ones promoting your stuff, and showing how fun or bad games on the system can be, is really stupid.


If all the Let's Play guys got together and started a Kickstarter to afford to go to court, I'd so support it. But the easy way to deal with Nintendo is boycotting everything Nintendo. Not ever even acknowledging Nintendo on their channel in any way shape of form.

For those Nintendo loyalists that have no idea what the problem is and what Nintendo has been doing, here is a must watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yC0rtTJ-v58

telaros
telaros

"Nintendo has grown desperate, seeking new legal ways to make money. One such way is by taking revenue away from "Transformative Works" such as GameGrumps, Farfromsubtle, and other famous Let's Plays."

Nintendo is already in practical obscurity. Only ones really standing by them are those old enough to remember they used to be top tier company. To attack the ones promoting your stuff, and showing how fun or bad games on the system can be, is really stupid.


If all the Let's Play guys got together and started a Kickstarter to afford to go to court, I'd so support it. But the easy way to deal with Nintendo is boycotting everything Nintendo. Not ever even acknowledging Nintendo on their channel in any way shape of form.

For those Nintendo loyalists that have no idea what the problem is and what Nintendo has been doing, here is a must watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yC0rtTJ-v58

oldschoolvandal
oldschoolvandal

WOW....That's something I expected from EA or Activision...but NEVER from Nintendo.

Cheap move big N...cheap move.

Ryuuken27
Ryuuken27

Are people playing games that stupid, that they don't even know how Lets players make money? It's the advertising scam, how youtube does it, is up to you to find out but, most money revenue is through ads.

Ryuuken27
Ryuuken27

It was about time someone finally did this, instead of Youtube advertising on EVERY playthrough video. Games are an experience gamers have and post their videos about it, that's why we at youtube need advertising on them. I want every video game company doing this, it will bring some extra revenue, and less clutter for videos uploaded.

TheIndianChild
TheIndianChild

We shouldv'e seen this coming. They needed a way to make up for all the lost $$$ thanks to the poor WiiU sales.

Zoza24
Zoza24

So players are not allowed to upload walktroughs on Youtube how they play Super Mario?.

Owhh!, and Sony introducing the  30 minutes recording and put in on any video social network is allowed?. Wow Nintendo, just wow!!!..

Valen_Ca
Valen_Ca

@legoislandfan  

The way it is worded in the article makes it sound like Nintendo will get all of the revenue from it, with enough backlash though Nintendo may relent and at least share the revenue. 

Millard11
Millard11

@Ryuuken27 They make money off ads yes but if nintendo is going to stop giving the Lets Players the money from ads and replace it whit their ads and take the money then no one will play their games through lets plays. There for losing out on free advertisement.  Youtube will still get their cut but the lets players dont get the money. 

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Ryuuken27I'd like this new source of income for Nintendo have concrete benefits for us gamers, but I doubt it. Why do more than you need to when people will settle for the same as usual. Generally, more money means larger profits and that benefits the company and shareholders. They get to feel proud of themselves, but whether fans benefit, depends on the company and the situation they're in at the moment. While I think Nintendo's actions are perfectly sound from a business perspective, I don't like it very much from a consumer/fan perspective for the above reasons.

BrutalPandaX2
BrutalPandaX2

@TheIndianChild They aren't actually losing much on the wii U. I think it was simply a new strategy : ride with the current-gen consoles appeal well into the next-gen without having to create a powerhouse system and actually lose money, it's a way to test the waters of an evolving industry by watching the pitfalls of the opponents as they rush to supremacy using the same old methods.

Cyberjin
Cyberjin

@Zoza24 you are allow to upload it, however they will just put ads on the video and make money for it

Cyberjin
Cyberjin

@demonkingx5 but Sony is making a "share button",
that makes no sense from what you are telling me.


Undietaker
Undietaker

@Valen_Ca @legoislandfan It doesn't matter if they "relent" or not, they have no legal claim, they won't get shit.

The addition of the comentary to game videos makes them the individuals art and voids copyright.

oldschoolvandal
oldschoolvandal

@BrutalPandaX2 @oldschoolvandal After the music and movie clean up, the possibility was wide open to whoever wanted to do so.

My disapointment is that Nintendo would be the first among console makers to take such a cheap move. I could easily see MS or Sony taking this route.

Well, this can be a result of my happy childhood memories with NES or SNES...but when thinking about evil ,greed corporations Nintendo wasn't one that came to mind. Looks thats about to change.

BrutalPandaX2
BrutalPandaX2

They aren't 'players' they are a business. They record an entire game being played to make money, that is why they are pissed. They make around $4000 for a video with 2m views and Let's Play's Minecraft series has 60 episodes. If each episode gets 1m views, they rake in $120,000 for playing a video game all the way through to which they don't have copyright for and don't own any the content. It's a little too good to be true from the get-go.

demonkingx5
demonkingx5

@Cyberjin & that won't stop them from making $ off the video like microsoft did with halo 4 they profit off the ads on the video the uploader don't 

demonkingx5
demonkingx5

@Trail_Mix Passing what torch god bias does lead to delusion you can disagree with nintendo hell i do on this matter but to let microsoft & sony pass on doing the same thing because you like them better is bias & wrong. all of them should be called out on anything they do wrong.

Kiaininja
Kiaininja

@BrutalPandaX2 @oldschoolvandal I find it hard to believe their raking in that much pennies to be worth a boost on N's billions and that many doing this as a simple hobby can be considered big business. Do you have a source of proof for this claim that these average Joes are making millions for N to be bothered by this. It's not like their uploading pirated games for N to exploit their loyal fans like that for a measly chump change.

BrutalPandaX2
BrutalPandaX2

@oldschoolvandal It took me a while to understand it but again as I stated below it makes sense. These aren't just players posting videos of their play through. These are businesses raking in tons of cash for playing video games to which they don't have rights to.

nathangray
nathangray

@BrutalPandaX2 Armchair lawyers beware, that's now how this works. The use of your intellectual property does not, nor has it ever, constitute universal rights to all ad revenue where it is used. That may not make sense to some, that may not even be fair, but it's the truth. Commentary, news outlets, writers and entertainers for various ilk have been protected by this for a very, very long time. In fact, many of those youtube LP videos could easily be classified as 'parody', which is also protected by free speech and creative commons licenses.

BrutalPandaX2
BrutalPandaX2

@Ryuuken27 1m views episodes ($2000 each) x 60 (# of episodes) = $120,000 for playing minecraft. Not to mention the side series episodes of minecraft.

Ryuuken27
Ryuuken27

@BrutalPandaX2 Your math is a little bit off, but yes, they are making money on the back off games, I doubt they even care what they're playing.

Cyberjin
Cyberjin

@demonkingx5@Cyberjinhey, Sony wants to share and get free advertisement.
right now they not in same spot as Nintendo or Microsoft.