From the New Media Interchange podcast with Douglas E. Welch: Episode 1…
Gaming is the #2 category on YouTube, behind music, and you can find a wide variety of gaming reviews, recaps and a growing number of Let’s Play video series, where a gamer walks you through their experience of game from beginning to end. Some of these Let’s Play series can go on for 30 or 40 episodes as the gamer hacks and slashes their way through the zombies of Dying Light, works to save the fictional country of Kyrat from a crazed dictator or performs speed runs of amazing dexterity in Zelda or Mario Brothers. While many game manufacturers have a good relationship with Let’s Play producers — even providing them explicit license to play the game on video — the aged “big boy” of the gaming world — Nintendo hasn’t been playing nice of late.
Back in mid-2013, Nintendo starting claiming all YouTube revenue from many videos that included Nintendo Copyrighted content, like Let’s Play footage. They eventually backed off this wholesale money grab and last month created a “licensing” program that allows YouTube producers to continue sharing YouTube videos of Nintendo games in exchange for 30%-40% of the revenue according to articles from Game Informer. com.
While this certainly is a better deal than taking 100% of the revenue, I always look suspiciously at large companies taking money away from some of their biggest fans — turning off many of these fans from ever playing or sharing a company’s products in the future. Is this a sign that Nintendo is struggling overall and looking for a quick way to gain a quick cash boost? The company has been struggling of late, but I think trying to level out their balance sheet on the backs of fans might not be the way to do it.
What do you think? Are YouTuber’s getting a free ride on Nintendo gaming content? Is Nintendo making a desperate money grab? What does this mean for the thousands of hours of Nintendo gaming already available on YouTube and its creators? I’d love to know what you think. Send along a comment on the blog, email to email@example.com or via Twitter to @NMIPodcast.