By Sahil Patel
Nintendo wants a cut of the revenue generated off of gameplay videos on YouTube that feature its titles.
The company announced today that it plans to launch an “affiliate” program that will give a “portion” of revenues generated from videos to the creator. It did not specify when the program will launch or how much of a split will be awarded to the creators, only promising that additional details will be released in the future.
Up until now, the Nintendo said it has permitted the use of “copyrighted material in videos on YouTube under appropriate circumstances.” As part of the upcoming affiliate program, the company has already started tagging recently uploaded videos of its games as copyrighted material.
The announcement comes a year after Nintendo received backlash from the creator community when it reportedly flagged hundreds of clips using YouTube’s Content ID system. Similar to other kerfuffles related to Content ID, this prevented creators from making money off of their videos, with revenues going to Nintendo (and YouTube) instead. Once the community responded negatively, Nintendo backed off.
But the company’s back again, and is hoping that with the promise of sharing some profits with creators, there won’t be a backlash this time around.
Early reactions don’t seem to be in the publisher’s favor. TotalBiscuit, a prominent British creator with more than 1.6 million subscribers on YouTube, tweeted:
He’s referring to a $240 million loss the company is forecasting from the first few months of 2014. And here’s PewDiePie, owner of the most popular channel on YouTube with more than 27 million subscribers:
Gaming is a very popular category on YouTube.* Most often, it’s exemplified in the immense appetite for gameplay videos on YouTube. Many game publishers elect to allow YouTube creators to use and make money off of videos using their IP, seeing it as a form of free marketing from a passionate fan base.
Last winter, a string of Content ID violations affected the “Let’s Play” community, as many creators saw their videos being flagged by the system and as a result losing revenue.
Nintendo’s affiliate program can be seen as a “best of both worlds” situation, with both the publisher and the creator making money. Nintendo hopes so, at least. Though its fans might not agree.
* Plug: More on this in our upcoming Gaming Special Issue!
Header image via FaruSantos