Back in 2015, Nintendo announced that going forward it would only allow monetization of videos featuring Nintendo content by channels approved through a special Nintendo Creators program. The program included numerous restrictions, an often lengthy video approval process, and a revenue share that gave Nintendo up to 40% of the profits. It was not a well-received program, to say the least. Now, three years later, Nintendo has just announced that they’re putting an end to it.
In a short statement on the Nintendo Creators Program website, Nintendo announced that the program will be shut down by the end of the year, and the website itself will cease to exist after March 20, 2019. Nintendo says they are taking this step in order to “make it easier for content creators to make and monetize videos that contain Nintendo game content.”
It’s unclear if new protocols will replace the old ones in time, but for now, Nintendo will no longer be requiring videos to be submitted for a review process, which previously could take as long as three days at times. As long as you follow Nintendo’s official guidelines for uploading video content, you should be free to monetize without a special license from Nintendo.
About a week ago we learned that up to 5,000 members of the general public will be invited to E3 this year. Attending companies have been given passes to hand out to their customers, and it looks like Nintendo has chosen to distribute their passes to select members of the Nintendo Creators Program on YouTube. First launched back in January, the Nintendo Creators Program allows YouTube users to upload Nintendo content and split the revenue with Nintendo. If you’re registered with this program, you could have a golden ticket to E3 waiting in your inbox.
The program is set up to allow Nintendo to make revenue off of YouTubers’ coverage of their games, but as a result of their unconventional monetization policies, many YouTubers, like Angry Joe and PewdiePie, are refusing to cover their games. Not only is Nintendo now missing out on the publicity that other games get from these YouTubers’ videos, but the company and their policies are actively getting bad press.
This is one of the subjects we cover on this week’s episode of Nintendo Week, our Nintendo podcast here at Gamnesia. The three of us all agree that the Creator’s Program is hurting Nintendo far more than it could possibly be helping them, and as a result, should just be dissolved. Let YouTubers have the freedom the rest of the industry allows, and you’ll be healthier in the long run.
Nintendo recently launched the Nintendo Creators Program, allowing YouTube users to register with Nintendo so that they can upload videos containing Nintendo content and receive part of the revenue. If you register an individual video, you’ll get 60% of the revenue, whereas registering your whole channel gets you 70% of the revenue.
However, if your channel contains any non-Nintendo games on it (or any Nintendo games that are not on the approved list), you cannot register it. If you want to register your channel with Nintendo, you’ll have to delete any non-Nintendo videos. Otherwise, your only option is to register each individual video, forfeiting that extra 10% of revenue.
Over the past few years, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding YouTube’s policies regarding videos that contain copyrighted content. Many game publishers, including Nintendo, have flagged videos containing their content, either shutting them down or claiming the ad revenue, which they are legally entitled to. Naturally, many YouTube users (especially those that make a living off of Let’s Play videos) are unhappy with this situation, and Nintendo has responded by kicking off the Nintendo Creators Program.
Through the Nintendo Creators Program, YouTube users can register with Nintendo. This allows them to upload videos containing Nintendo content (within Nintendo’s established guidelines and using only Nintendo-approved games) and share the revenue. However, in the early days of the program, Nintendo is struggling to keep up with all the registrations, and the estimated “two to three days” waiting period for registration to be completed is over a week for some. Nintendo is aware of the situation and has issued this official response:
Due to your enthusiasm for the program, we’re receiving a higher volume of applications to register channels and videos than expected. It is taking longer than we anticipated to confirm the applications. We appreciate your patience as we work through them as quickly as possible.
We are only able to register videos that contain game titles specified on the list of supported games. We are also only able to register channels that contain game titles specified on the list of supported games.
If a video within your channel contains game titles outside of the list of supported games, please remove it from the channel before registering. If you are unable to remove the video from your channel, please register each video that contains game titles on the list of supported games individually.
If the videos are not removed from the channel within this time, your channel will not be registered with the program. You may resubmit your channel for registration at a later date.
There’s been a lot of controversy in recent years over game publishers like Nintendo claiming revenue for YouTube videos that feature their content. Nintendo recently addressed this situation by launching the Nintendo Creators Program, which allows YouTube users to register with Nintendo and share revenue from videos featuring Nintendo content.
This has been a controversial move from Nintendo, as the list of approved games for the Nintendo Creators Program is missing a lot of popular titles, and many are unhappy with the financial compromise offered in the program. Popular YouTube personality PewDiePie recently spoke out against the program, we’ve offered our thoughts on Nintendo’s actions, and now Jim Sterling has tackled the issue in his latest Jimquisition video. Click the video above to check it out, and let us know what you think about the Nintendo Creators Program.
Internet sensation and Let’s Player PewDiePie (real name Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg) knows his way around YouTube. As seen from his millions of subscribers, the amount of content he uploads per day, and his ability to work YouTube as a successful career, his credibility when it comes to YouTube partnerships and relations with other companies in regards to the YouTuber is outstanding, and he does not take that knowledge for granted.
YouTube allows millions of men and women from across the globe the opportunity to upload their content, only a handful of these YouTubers becoming popular enough to support themselves off of partnership contracts and ad revenue. However, Nintendo has recently decided to hone their influence on this video uploading site. As of now, any YouTuber that features Nintendo titles in their videos must grant a sizable portion of their ad revenue to the company. PewDiePie does not think this is justified.
In a recent Tumblr post from PewDiePie himself, he shared his views on the new Nintendo Creators Program, stating that Nintendo’s new plan is only inhibiting the company from success on the uploading platform, success they had before they intervened for revenue.
“But what they are missing out on completely is the free exposure and publicity that they get from YouTube / YouTubers. What better way to sell / market a game, than from watching someone else (that you like) playing it and enjoying themselves?” — PewDiePie
Pewds then put the situation in the perspective of YouTubers who have been loyal to Nintendo. Now, with this new policy, they may be jeopardized financially and will have to resort to other means in the creation of their content.
“I also think this is a slap in the face to the YouTube channels that does focus on Nintendo game exclusively. The people who have helped and showed passion for Nintendo’s community are the ones left in the dirt the most.” — PewDiePie
While Nintendo believes this is a good step for their company, the backlash from the wake of this new policy obviously suggests that if it is enforced, many YouTubers may boycott. Like Pewds said, “when there’s just so many games out there to play. Nintendo games just went to the bottom of that list.” Not only has Nintendo made itself more unappealing in the wake of this new financial idea, but it has also just opened the floor for possible competition.
Do you think Nintendo’s new YouTube policy is justified? Leave your comments below.
It is now (technically) two years since Nintendo began claiming ownership of “Let’s Play” videos on YouTube that featured the company’s content, meaning that any ad revenue that originally went to the YouTuber was diverted into Nintendo’s wallet, something Zach Scott confirmed in May 2013. Since then, Nintendo has been zigzagging back and forth on the issue. Later that year, it was rumored that Nintendo could be backing away from “Let’s Play” money when Reggie Fils-Aime claimed that the decision was made to protect Nintendo’s intellectual property, but it wasn’t until November 2014 that Nintendo finally began to doubt their stance and made their work eligible for Nicovideo’s “Creative Endorsement Program.” It was clear that potential Nintendo Let’s Players were going to jump through a lot of hoops.
At last, those hoops have finally been revealed in the form of the Nintendo Creators Program. Instead of snatching the entire cake from the hands of the small-time YouTubers, the publishing giant has settled for a mere 30% of the cake, unless Nintendo changes its mind of course, as the page is quick to remind us: “This rate may be changed arbitrarily.” The fact of the matter is that many of these people do Let’s Plays for a living. While I don’t have a degree in economics, I can say that it’s going to be difficult luring content creators to your side when the only “benefit” is a 30% pay cut.
On top of this, the list of games Nintendo permits YouTubers to use is sorely lacking, with major titles such as Captain Toad and Super Smash Bros. curiously missing. In fact, out of the 41 Wii U exclusives listed on Wikipedia, only an embarrassing 10 actually make it onto Nintendo’s whitelist. There’s no Bayonetta 2, no ZombiU, and even Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is missing, even though the latter will be released long before this program launches. To add insult to injury, Nintendo has elected to ignore its rich and colorful history with classic titles like Majora’s Mask and Ocarina of Time failing to make the cut. Not a single Pokémon title is listed for any of Nintendo’s platforms, but on the positive, at least there’s Swapnote.
Nintendo is missing a golden and diamond-encrusted opportunity, preferring to concern itself with fending off hypothetical bogeymen on YouTube to protect its intellectual property. So much-maligned has its marketing been that for years, since the dying days of the Wii, has the spotlight been on its rivals. In YouTubers, Nintendo had the chance at getting that marketing done more effectively than any campaign or commercial, and it would have been free. A single PewDiePie video on Mario Kart 8 would do more than a thousand banner ads that were ultimately adblocked from existence anyway. But it wasn’t enough. Nintendo wouldn’t settle for free marketing. Nintendo wanted to get paid for that marketing.
So while Nintendo struggles and toils with both sales and media attention, independent developers and smaller publishers are rapidly on the rise. Games like Minecraft, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and Papers, Please have all been roaring successes, owing in no small part to the generous coverage from YouTubers. Devolver Digital, publisher of Serious Sam, Hotline Miami, and The Talos Principle, has no qualms about rewarding YouTubers for their work, as shown by this hilariously blunt web page.
Nevertheless, this program is going to have its ardent defenders. They’re going to say that Nintendo’s doing it to protect its intellectual property from plagiarism and other ethereal dangers. But if that’s the case, why aren’t other publishers bothered by it? Why is Blizzard Entertainment not bothering to take down Hearthstone videos, or StarCraft II commentaries? Unlike Nintendo, Blizzard embraced the YouTube scene, and Hearthstone is bigger than imaginable, with an astonishing revenue of $114 million in a single year.
In recent months there has been some controversy surrounding Nintendo’s YouTube policies (and other companies as well), specifically in regards to them claiming videos that contain Nintendo content (such as video walkthroughs) and taking all of the revenue. Nintendo has responded by launching a website for the Nintendo Creators Program. The program is currently in beta and by signing up, you can be approved by Nintendo and granted a license to upload their content, which entitles you to a share of the advertising revenue generated by that content.
If you’re interested in joining the Nintendo Creators Program, you can sign up here. The details and rules of the revenue sharing are as follows:
You can register single videos or entire channels.
When you register a channel, you will be eligible to receive a share of advertising revenue from Nintendo for all videos included in that channel, regardless of their content. If you only want some videos to apply to this program, please register each video individually.
You can only use channels or videos that contain copyrighted content related to game titles specified by Nintendo, and they must be your original creations. Be sure your videos do not contain copyrighted material from third parties or content from unconfirmed game titles. See here for a list of Nintendo game titles specified for use with this program.
It can regularly take up to three business days for your registered content to be reviewed and finalized.
The advertisement revenue share is 70% for channels and 60% for videos. (This rate may be changed arbitrarily. )
In order to comply with applicable laws and regulations, and as a condition to participating in the Nintendo Creators Program, you must include the following disclosure with any videos you create that contain Nintendo content:
I have a license to use Nintendo’s content in this video through the Nintendo Creators Program. This video is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, but any advertising revenue from this video will be shared with Nintendo.
This disclosure may be spoken (e.g., in the YouTube video) or written (e.g., in the YouTube caption or as on-screen text in the video). Regardless of format, you need to make sure the disclosure is prominently presented, easy to understand, and clearly visible and/or audible to anyone who views your video.
You can find a list of games supported by the program here, and you can sign up here.