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Nintendo chasing after 'Lets Play' YouTube ad revenue

Nintendo chasing after 'Lets Play' YouTube ad revenue

The Lets Play community is enormous on Youtube with many play-throughs of pretty much any game imaginable.

Nintendo is going after Youtube "Lets Play" video creators that have uploaded videos of their titles and demanding any ad revenue they may have collected from them.

The gaming giant is registered as a Youtube partner and logged its copyright content in the Youtube database in February this year. Any ad revenue from a video featuring Nintendo content will now as a result go to Nintendo as opposed to the video's uploader.

Videos that have not had ads placed in them by their creators but that feature Nintendo content will also have ads placed in them retroactively with their revenue compensating the company.

In a statement to Gamefront, Nintendo explains that the move will affect very few fan videos and that this is a part of an initiative to make sure that its content is enjoyed in an 'appropriate and safe way', implying that the company simply wants to exercise some control over the Lets Play scene. Also, it is not looking to take these videos offline.

'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," said a Nintendo spokesperson in the statement.

In a blog post published on Develop by Thomas Was Alone developer Mike Bithell, encourages other developers not to follow Nintendo's lead as they risk cutting out a key publicity channel. He points out that the PR his title received from the Lets Play community resulted in Thomas Was Alone outselling Assassin's Creed 3 on Steam, a significant achievement for an indie title.

The amount of ad revenue earned by even the more established Lets Play video creators is unlikely to be terribly significant and will vary depending on the type of ad and the value attached to your viewership.

Youtube's ad guidelines do also state that videos which contain video game footage are not eligible for monetisation which suggests that Lets Play videos have been breaking the platforms guidelines for some time anyway.

The Lets Play community is understandably shaken by Nintendo's move. Zack Scott, a Lets Play creator with an enormous catalogue of videos that have accumulated more than 81 million views said that he will not be doing any more videos on Nintendo games while they are taking this stance.

'I think filing claims against LPers is backwards. Video games aren't like movies or TV. Each play-through is a unique audiovisual experience. 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,' said Scott on Facebook.

27 Comments

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Andy Mc 18th May 2013, 15:47 Quote
Meh. Everyone else does it, so why shouldn't Nintendo? The fact they do not issue C&D's on stuff means they are not totally heartless.
GeorgeStorm 18th May 2013, 15:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Mc
Meh. Everyone else does it, so why shouldn't Nintendo? The fact they do not issue C&D's on stuff means they are not totally heartless.

I didn't realise other companies did it as well?

I don't think it will do them any favours, the money can't be THAT much, and the publicity will be bad overall I feel.
fix-the-spade 18th May 2013, 15:53 Quote
Mojang commented on this in the week, it seems to be that Google is encouraging companies to claim the ad revenue away from the users.
It seems an odd decision by Nintendo, they run the risk of everyone just erasing the videos and leaving Nintendo claiming all of nothing. Nintendo of all people need good publicity right now, not to be burning bridges they might need when those Wii U first party game arrive.
Andy Mc 18th May 2013, 15:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeStorm
I didn't realise other companies did it as well?

I don't think it will do them any favours, the money can't be THAT much, and the publicity will be bad overall I feel.

Well, mainly music companies. If you post a video and use an artists music then any revenue from your video goes to the record company.
GeorgeStorm 18th May 2013, 15:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Mc
Well, mainly music companies. If you post a video and use an artists music then any revenue from your video goes to the record company.

Ah I thought you meant other game companies.

Does that happen with someone doing a cover of a song?
Andy Mc 18th May 2013, 16:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeStorm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Mc
Well, mainly music companies. If you post a video and use an artists music then any revenue from your video goes to the record company.

Ah I thought you meant other game companies.

Does that happen with someone doing a cover of a song?

Not sure, but I wouldn't put it past them. One of the reason Psy's Gangnam style made so much money on Youtube was because he did not issue C&D's to all the spoof's and copies. He took the ad money from them.
Silver51 18th May 2013, 16:13 Quote
Nintendo still make games?

The SNES must have a larger fanbase than I thought. Y'know, because nobody makes games for the Wii U.
Hex 18th May 2013, 16:16 Quote
This isn't going to do Nintendo any favours. A lot of my youtubing friends have now quit any LPs they had going on Nintendo games. If you see any partners stopping these LPs remember it's not them being greedy and wanting the ad money for themselves. You don't really get that much per video, but the copyright strikes on your channel can cause you a lot of grief. It isn't worth it.

I think this is a completely backwards move by Nintendo. Gameplay videos are not like someone uploading a film, TV show or song. Watching someone else play the game isn't the same as playing it yourself so is rarely a substitute. A lot of people find out about new/'underground' games through LP channels. Silly move Nintendo...
GoodBytes 18th May 2013, 16:17 Quote
You guys should watch this:
yC0rtTJ-v58
rollo 18th May 2013, 16:20 Quote
Dont understand the reasons behind this, If a games company ever needed good public relations more so than Nintendo does now im not sure i can name it.
Harlequin 18th May 2013, 16:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hex
This isn't going to do Nintendo any favours. A lot of my youtubing friends have now quit any LPs they had going on Nintendo games. If you see any partners stopping these LPs remember it's not them being greedy and wanting the ad money for themselves. You don't really get that much per video, but the copyright strikes on your channel can cause you a lot of grief. It isn't worth it.

I think this is a completely backwards move by Nintendo. Gameplay videos are not like someone uploading a film, TV show or song. Watching someone else play the game isn't the same as playing it yourself so is rarely a substitute. A lot of people find out about new/'underground' games through LP channels. Silly move Nintendo...



sony do it , MS do it , EA do it..... you ARE telling everyone about them arnt you??
Malvolio 18th May 2013, 16:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeStorm
Ah I thought you meant other game companies.

Does that happen with someone doing a cover of a song?

Sometimes.

One of my side projects is a mobile sound system for large group rides, and due to the wide audience I typically see the majority of what is played is either indie stuff or covers. Where this becomes a problem is when I try to upload a video of the event to YT wherein several songs get "flagged" for copyright infringement despite the songs being horribly distorted (thanks to the GoPro's terrible microphone), or just being covers (they get attributed to an incorrect artist). From what I've observed the detection software that YT uses is quite robust but prone to false-positives leaving users faced with a hair-pulling, frustrating experience getting things set straight (the last video I uploaded "matched" three songs, but only one of them was correct, leaving me to either file a dispute knocking my video offline for an indefinite amount of time or just agreeing and giving money to those of whom it doesn't belong - last video I contested has been in dispute for over a year now with no updates from any party).
GoodBytes 18th May 2013, 16:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo
Dont understand the reasons behind this, If a games company ever needed good public relations more so than Nintendo does now im not sure i can name it.

You should check the video I posted. But basically, Nintendo register to youTube, submit clips and sound of their content, and youTube computers scans all their videos and flag all matched content. Then the owner of the video is notified and can say yes it's copyrighted material, or not (fair use). Once it's fair use, Nintendo get notification and then Nintendo get to pick what to do: do nothing, puts ads, or pull the video. If pulling the video is selected, the youTube channel can appeal it, and then Nintendo can choose to the author of the video to court... so far, it hasn't happened to any company in the gaming industry.

Nintendo probably registered themselves to youTube, for ripped out content, like game music directly from the game, with no modification. But the side effect, is the Let's Play community gets effected. As for the ads in the video money going to Nintendo or pulled... this depends on what option you pick in the flagged video notification. It's an auto-pick if you will.
Silver51 18th May 2013, 19:28 Quote
Okay, so I've had a think about this and I guess it really bothers me.


As someone who has recently embarked on a Lets Play channel, I can say that a lot of work goes into these videos, even the really basic ones.

Recording the play through is the easiest bit; capturing a video stream on the PC and vocals on the laptop. I guess the longest bit so far has been cleaning the vocal stream afterward, which is done in real time. The intro and outro plates are made in Photoshop, they don't take that long but there is an initial time-cost involved. The assembled parts are then dropped into the editing suite, synced, cut into episodes, saved then set to render overnight.

The last rendering session took 13 hours to complete.


So while I can understand that companies want to protect their copyright materials, it kind of sucks that they don't really get the Lets Play scene. What is essentially free advertising from an unbiased and reliable source ends up being legally strong-armed and milked for cash.

At that point video creation goes from being a fun little project to a pointless endeavour.


I can't see all companies following suit. CCP for one has never legally hot-dropped anyone for creating videos for YouTube. Which is good because I'm particularly fond of the Rooks and Kings Clarion Call and Clear Skies videos.

I guess we'll steer clear of anything released by the bigger publishing houses and focus instead on Indy titles or games from friendly publishers. Just hope nobody goes legal eagle on our butts because there's no real way of fighting it.
Hex 18th May 2013, 19:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harlequin
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hex
*<snip>*

sony do it , MS do it , EA do it..... you ARE telling everyone about them arnt you??

Sorry, I don't understand what you're saying? You can do LPs of EA and MS games actually the whole thing with the MS T&Cs was cleared up and does not prevent anyone from uploading LPs of MS games and monetizing them. I don't know about Sony because I hate them and have nothing to do with them. But saying "They all do it" is completely false. A lot of my friends have gaming yt channels and are partnered, the reason this is a big deal is because the other companies DO NOT do this. They may have clauses allowing them to do so if they wanted, but the fact is they do not use Claim ID to auto claim gameplay. Normally it'll be the game music that is flagged and that's by the composer.
SAimNE 18th May 2013, 20:05 Quote
for people who dont think this is a lot of money when you think about the amount of letsplay vids out there with nintendo games(especially considering many people making these vids are quite popular) there is going to be quite a bit of stable revenue generated by it.

that being said what they are after is not helping the content be enjoyed in a "safe way" nintendo has and always will be a bunch of heartless money grubbing a holes... if people are still willing to buy/pay they could care less what you enjoy
Kiytan 18th May 2013, 20:36 Quote
The other things that strikes me as odd, is that a lot of the videos are of games that are no longer in production, so if the Let's play is robbing nintendo of money, because people don't buy the game (which is the only argument I can think of) It's not like it's a game nintendo are going to make any money from anyway.
jimmyjj 18th May 2013, 21:44 Quote
If you are genuinely interested in this topic then Total Biscuit covers it very well:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yX4io2O4EI
ZERO <ibis> 18th May 2013, 23:37 Quote
So if I play a game of checkers and record it the rights of the video belong to the company that made the checkers board!?
GoodBytes 18th May 2013, 23:41 Quote
If they registered with YouTube, yes. YouTube will start scanning (their computers) all videos, and flag those who are targeted. It's all automated, and prone to error, and even take the wrong decisions, like pull the video.
ZERO <ibis> 19th May 2013, 00:21 Quote
Wait I got an idea express and other brands should register to protect what people do while inside of their style! Then we can ensure that the correct people own the rights to all videos containing any humans in them.

Also can my mother register control over videos of me given that she created me and thus owns all rights to my actions!?
GoodBytes 19th May 2013, 01:38 Quote
Yes and yes, I am sure.
erratum1 19th May 2013, 03:22 Quote
Some of the big youtubers make a decent living always thought it was strange you can make a living from sitting on your ass playing games.

I remember gunns4hire saying that he didn't need anymore subscribers as he was making plenty and employed his wife as an assistant !

Someone like Lindsey sterling deserves her money, she composes the music, makes the video on location all of that cost money !......but playing games ! :|
SinxarKnights 19th May 2013, 05:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by erratum1
Some of the big youtubers make a decent living always thought it was strange you can make a living from sitting on your ass playing games.

I remember gunns4hire saying that he didn't need anymore subscribers as he was making plenty and employed his wife as an assistant !

Someone like Lindsey sterling deserves her money, she composes the music, makes the video on location all of that cost money !......but playing games ! :|

Why is it strange? They are entertainers like anybody else. They don't get paid to play games, they get paid to entertain an audience. They are just using a targeted means to reach a lot of people.
Harlequin 19th May 2013, 07:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hex
Sorry, I don't understand what you're saying? You can do LPs of EA and MS games actually the whole thing with the MS T&Cs was cleared up and does not prevent anyone from uploading LPs of MS games and monetizing them. I don't know about Sony because I hate them and have nothing to do with them. But saying "They all do it" is completely false. A lot of my friends have gaming yt channels and are partnered, the reason this is a big deal is because the other companies DO NOT do this. They may have clauses allowing them to do so if they wanted, but the fact is they do not use Claim ID to auto claim gameplay. Normally it'll be the game music that is flagged and that's by the composer.

totalbiscuit has it spot on actually.

LP`s can sit there and play the entire game, and with some games , the voice acting and scripted parts make the bulk of the game. so why wouldn`t ANY company defend its IP and want the user to purchase the game instead of watching someone doing it for them. I used to watch LP channels but stopped when the cult of personaility overtook the game being shown.

the part i do disagree with is going after journo`s who have done an online review of the game using in game footage , what you`ll find is either journo`s review with footage (or phone cam) or stop revieing that companies products.
MSHunter 19th May 2013, 09:15 Quote
So this is what they do instead Of coming up with new games and not more rehashes?
Harlequin 19th May 2013, 09:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSHunter
So this is what they do instead Of coming up with new games and not more rehashes?

heya it works for RAMBUS so why not :P
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