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Nintendo will split advertising revenue with YouTube content creators

It's a 180 for the video game company.


Imad Khan

Internet Culture

Posted on May 27, 2014   Updated on May 31, 2021, 6:04 am CDT

Nintendo has a checkered and controversial past when it comes YouTube videos that feature its games. But it seems the game company has turned over a new leaf, recently announcing it would create a partnership program with content creators.

The program was announced via a series of tweets from Nintendo’s Japanese twitter account. User @Cheesmeister3k gave a translation.

.@Nintendo is planning a YouTube affiliate program to split advertising proceeds with video creators.

— Cheesemeister (@Cheesemeister3k) May 27, 2014

Details of the program are rather scarce, but what is known is that advertising revenue will be split between the gaming giant and content creators. Many on NeoGAF, the largest gaming forum on the internet, are hoping that it’s a 70-30 split, rather than right down the middle.

Gaming is a hugely popular section on YouTube, especially a type of video called “Let’s Play,” where gamers play through a game while recording their own commentary and reactions. The site’s most popular channels, inlcuding PewDiePie or GameGrumps, fit in the Let’s Play mold.

Last year, Nintendo caused quite a bit of controversy when it announced claims on all content featuring its games, and a right to receive advertising income from any of those videos. There are many YouTube content creators that see a good portion of their income come from Let’s Play videos. To have such a hostile measure taken against their creative endeavors seemed unwarranted.

Uploading a Let’s Play video differs from uploading a movie or a song. A movie experience will be the same for everyone across the board. But gameplay experiences differ. It’s one thing to see a person playing Pinball, it’s another thing to watch a professional playing Pinball. Not only that, Let’s Play creators offer their own commentary and insight, and those insights are valuable to consumers.

Nintendo backed off on taking ad revenue after mass fan outcry.

The move indicates that Nintendo is finally starting to understand modern gaming culture a bit more clearly. Sony and Microsoft learned long ago not to bite the hand that feeds them. With poor sales of the Wii U and the introduction of direct gameplay upload of Mario Kart straight to YouTube, it seems that Nintendo’s doing what they can to keep fans happy.

Photo by Rob Fahey/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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*First Published: May 27, 2014, 3:30 pm CDT