Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
July 25, 2014
arrowPress Releases
July 25, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


Nintendo reveals YouTube affiliate program for Let's Players
Nintendo reveals YouTube affiliate program for Let's Players
May 27, 2014 | By Mike Rose

May 27, 2014 | By Mike Rose
Comments
    30 comments
More:



Nintendo suffered a backlash from some fans last year, when it came to light that the company had begun claiming ad revenue and shutting down YouTube Let's Play videos showcasing its games.

Although the company seemed to back off at the time, it has now revealed new plans to split revenues from videos of Nintendo games with their creators.

A couple of tweets from the official Nintendo Twitter this morning state that those users who want to record videos of Nintendo games for YouTube will need to get permission from Nintendo, via an affiliate ad revenue sharing program.

Under this affiliate program, revenues will be shared between Google, Nintendo and the video creator. Nintendo notes that it has already begun tagging recent YouTube videos of Nintendo games, and Nintendo ads are appearing on these videos.

Update: A Nintendo representative gave the following comment on the news to Gamasutra:

"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."


Related Jobs

Xaviant
Xaviant — Cumming, Georgia, United States
[07.25.14]

Lead Character Artist
Activision Publishing
Activision Publishing — Santa Monica, California, United States
[07.25.14]

Senior Online Programmer - Central Tech Online
Activision Publishing
Activision Publishing — Santa Monica, California, United States
[07.25.14]

Online Programmer - Central Tech Online
Raven Software / Activision
Raven Software / Activision — Santa Monica, California, United States
[07.25.14]

Technical Director - Central Tech Online










Comments


E Zachary Knight
profile image
So we are still defaulting to a permission based culture, something that really urks me. But this is at least an improvement.

Sean Kiley
profile image
When "Let's Players" play a game, that sells more copies which gives the developer more money. So let them keep their ad revenue for something they are creating with something they've bought.

James Margaris
profile image
The problem with this line of thinking is that whether or not Let's Plays help the bottom line is for the developer to decide, not the Let's Player - who has no actual data to make a judgement from anyway.

This is like people who argue that piracy makes things more popular and is good for businesses. Sometimes that's true, sometimes it isn't, either way the people making the product are in the best position to determine that and have the right to act accordingly.

How would these Let's Players feel if you rehosted their videos and took the ad revenue for yourself? I'm guessing they wouldn't buy the logic that your rehost is making their content more popular and ultimately making them money.

Sean Kiley
profile image
Rehosting a LP is stealing, just like hosting a pirated game is stealing. You are directly replacing something in these examples.

Recording gameplay and talking about it is creating something new. You can't substitute what has been created with the game, there is no loss of purchase. Microsoft was exposed PAYING people to do this with their games.

If Nintendo doesn't want people doing this it needs to be in some EULA or something. Then they can, as you say, determine if it helps their bottom line.

Ian Richard
profile image
Pulled from Nintendo's EULA.

"The Software is licensed, not sold, to you solely for your personal, noncommercial use on your Wii U."

and

"Neither the sale, transfer, license, nor the use of your Wii U System transfers any title or ownership of any of our intellectual property rights."

Nintendo doesn't want people doing this so they put it in their EULA. People didn't read the EULA and posted copyrighted content for commercial gain hense Nintendo's actions against it

Merc Hoffner
profile image
@ Sean

I'm not sure if this applies directly, and I'm no lawyer, but in the music industry if you make a cover of a song, or a total remix, or a total re-imagining with ample new creative addition, or even if you simply use a significant sample, generally speaking you're allowed, but you pay the original copyright holder a licence fee. Remember "Ice Ice Baby"? Similarly if you were to use part of a song in a film, again, fees have to negotiated.

As I see it the question here isn't simply the use or partial use of copyright material - it's pretty clear cut, that even if only a part of the original work forms only a part of your new work, licencing applies. The complication here is the special fair-use exemptions for satire and review (which are in essence the same thing). If the work was clearly a review or commentary on the original work then there's an argument - an argument that might mean standing up in court to prove the balance. If it's just enjoying pieces of the original with creative edits, an original run, original commentary and your own stuff tacked on then Nintendo and other IP-originators would have a pretty good claim.

Allowing everyone to make some money is usually the least bad way to compromise.

Sean Kiley
profile image
I think those exerts from the EULA were meant for preventing resale mainly, but I can grudgingly agree it could be applied to LP's.

And darn it Merc, maybe you have a point too, and Nintendo may be within its rights, but doesn't this whole thing stink of old-fashionism?

It just makes me feel uneasy that, here comes this giant company to take a share of what these kids are doing and its only going to make for bad PR.

Jed Hubic
profile image
This is even worse than just banning the vids. Nintendo...

Scott Lavigne
profile image
...How?

Jennis Kartens
profile image
How does that work when someone is in a network? Because then will be shared with 3 parties (however you never see what Google takes anyways) and in the end actual creators probably left with very little.

That said, they deserve little to nothing anyways because "Lets Play" Nintendo games is like making a video of your daily grocery shopping and having millions of people watching. In fact, most LPs are like that...

John Paduch
profile image
That's a pretty shitty and ignorant thing to say, as a broad generalization. Sure, there are lots of hangers-on who are just trying to ride the coat-tails of the popular LPers, but the ones who make quality videos (and thus retain a long-time, consistent audience) are the ones who make a "show" of it: they add their unique personality and wit on top of simple gameplay, and the audience shows up for THAT more than the gameplay itself.

If those LPers did nothing but show gameplay, they wouldn't keep an audience because A)Fair use wouldn't apply, and B)Gameplay itself is boring to simply watch on its own.

Jennis Kartens
profile image
It's neither shitty nor ignorant, it is the conclusion of having worked in that space and seen a lot of the horrors that are produced on all ends there.

Most (as in: not everyone, but most) are just a waste. It is also not true to assume their personality would be the pure factor. If you change your program, people will leave. I've seen it many times.

Success there is often a mere matter of timing and neither of the character nor the quality.

Jamie Mann
profile image
A better analogy would be watching someone who's watching and critiquing a movie - the sort of thing that MST3K and Elvira made a living out of.

Or watching someone singing kareoke.

Either way, it's clear that the person is building upon - and profiting from - someone else's IP. And I think you'd have a hard time arguing that it's transformative rather than derivative:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derivative_work

Should someone be able to profit from creating a derivative work? Absolutely. Should the original IP creator/owner be recompensated? Absolutely.

The fun bit comes when you have to try and decide how to share the profits, and there's a whole ball of nasty tangled mess underlying that, which I'm not going to go anywhere near in this comment ;)

Mike Jenkins
profile image
"A better analogy would be watching someone who's watching and critiquing a movie - the sort of thing that MST3K and Elvira made a living out of."

How would Hollywood react if I created a MST3K type show on youtube, where I use new, still in theaters blockbuster movies instead of terrible ancient ones?

Paul Weber
profile image
MST3K did have to pay for all the movies they used. This is why a lot of the MST3K back catalog isn't available on DVD (the rights-fees for some of the movies skyrocketed after they got popular again thanks to MST).

Kai Boernert
profile image
Having just read the article about loss aversion, I somehow see youtubers only seeing the part of the money they won't get anymore and would say this is doomed to fail.

Ron Williams II
profile image
What I am failing to understand is how Let's Plays are any different than any other form of video game reviews. How can Nintendo treat (charge) lets players any differently than Metacritic, Game Informer, or any other game reviewers?

Ian Richard
profile image
That's actually a pretty simple distinction. Reviewers take the some pieces from the game in order build their video.

Let's player's take the ENTIRE game, reveal the ENTIRE STORY, share ALL of the copyrighted music that Nintendo has to include, etc.

I love let's plays, but let's be honest about whats going on here. They are, at least in part, profiting off of Nintendo and other developers hard work.

Jamie Mann
profile image
A review will generally be transformative rather than derivative (i.e. a significant element of it is new and unique) and therefore has stronger "fair use" protection. Though there are still potential concerns, as discussed here:
http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2010/01/06/copyright-tips-for-revi
ew-sites/

Disclaimer/note: I've got several videos up on Youtube which fall somewhere inbetween being a review and a longplay - such as this walkthrough of MDKs first level, where I used a lot of pop-up boxes to highlight key elements of the gameplay.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUvvSRG5rAA

However, I think it's still safe to say that it'd be counted as a derivative work rather than transformative, which is part of the reason why I've not monetised it...

Alan Barton
profile image
@"revenues will be shared between Google, Nintendo and the video creator."

Hold on Nintendo, I see a big elephant in the room. Hey Nintendo, what about the games developers! ... The IP of a 3rd party game, regardless of platform, is legally owned by the games developers, so they get to choose whatever they want to do with *their IP*, including allowing their players to do lets play videos for free.

Nintendo cannot monetize 3rd party games and if they try, they will be faced with a massive class action from many developers to prevent Nintendo monetizing and so controlling the IP rights of other companies.

So Nintendo have to make their stance very clear indeed on this point, as monetizing lets play is detrimental to the wishes of many developers and their players.

So this must surely be for 1st party Nintendo only developed games?. But even so, its harming their biggest fans who promote their games for free online, so its a crazy business move and will not help Nintendo, it'll only add harm to their perception by potential fans.

(And I've actively tried to be a support to Nintendo in the past).

Steven Stadnicki
profile image
Presumably "Nintendo games" means "games developed by Nintendo" and not "games on the Nintendo system" here (although editing that for clarity wouldn't be a bad idea) - but even if we broaden the discussion to all games published for Nintendo HW, the question of whether Nintendo can monetize the content or not depends entirely on the licensing terms for the platform, and it's certainly possible that Nintendo either has such controls written into its terms or could change the platform licensing terms to add them.

Alan Barton
profile image
You are right in that they could possibly exploit the terms and conditions of putting a game on their platform, but if they want to do that it creates another big reason for content creators to not put their games on a Nintendo console and certainly resticts promoting games on their console. Nintendo are placing themselves at a competitive disadvantage in restricting lets play videos, in a misguided belief they can monetize it.

Jim Burns
profile image
Nintendo has a right to make money off of their own content. Period. Legally, they have the leg to stand on. Demos, trailers, those sorts of things.

Alan Barton
profile image
"Nintendo has a right" ... Yeah but it doesn't make it a smart or wise business move.

Jim Burns
profile image
Any new revenue stream is a smart and wise business move ;)

Alan Barton
profile image
Yeah, like asking say $10k for a game will help earn more money from all the sales. Its all good business moves ;)

Kyle Jansen
profile image
Do they? Video games are legally software, at least as far as I understand it.

By that logic, Microsoft owns 50% of my novel (for being written in Microsoft Word), Mozilla owns half of this post (for being posted in Firefox), and Adobe owns half of my logo (for being made in Photoshop). Does that seem right to you?

Trailers would obviously be another matter, but most trailers aren't actually in-game anyways.

Ian Richard
profile image
Have you read the EULA's you agree to?

Most games and consoles offer you a non-transferable non-commercial LICENSE that allows you to play the game. They usually specifically state that you DO NOT own the content on the disc, but you are allowed to use it. Many even specifically state that you cannot perform the game in public.

If memory serves me right, I agree to this same set of rules every time my XBox updates.

Tools like word and adobe usually state that you own the products you create with it... games do not.

By clicking "I agree", you accept whatever terms the developers have given you. That includes agreeing to "non-commercial usage" and the fact that you don't own the music or video that Let's Players are giving away.

Merc Hoffner
profile image
@ Kyle

Apart from the EULAs and fair use, Microsoft may genuinely have considered that, but for them the challenge would be proving the creation chain - how would they prove a given document was created from its inception on their platform, or that money was being made from a version of a new work specifically generated using their 'tool'. For Nintendo the situation is easier to prove, as a videogame is much more uniquely identifiable and much less of a tool.

The interesting thing will be the new cases that might come up with cloud computing: Suddenly the entire creation chain CAN be proven by the toolmakers/service providers - if you've got the wrong licence agreement, perhaps the nefarious ones will start making that argument. But the market speaks just as the courts do.

Michael Ball
profile image
@Jim
"MONETIZE EVERYTHING! SURELY our players won't have any objection to that! After all, any new revenue stream is a smart and wise business move ;)"


none
 
Comment: