News Article

Nintendo May Have Eased Off On Its Claims To 'Let's Play' Ad Revenues

Posted by Andy Green

Popular YouTuber says he's making money on Nintendo content again

Last month we reported on Nintendo's move to put a block on 'Let's Play' videos on YouTube monetising any of its copyrighted content. Essentially, the company claimed the rights to any revenue generated from user-created video content that is long enough to get an advert placed at the beginning, middle or end.

Well, it appears Nintendo has eased off a little on this front as Zack Scott, the popular YouTuber who informed the world about Nintendo's restrictions in mid-May, has told Kotaku he's seen evidence Nintendo has performed a U-turn.

The copyright claim that Nintendo slapped down on one of his captured Let's Play videos of Super Mario 3D Land was apparently modified less than two weeks later to allow his content to earn money from advertisements.

He said the ad earnings ceased on 14th May but then resumed nine days later on 23rd May.

Kotaku caught up with President of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aime about the issue at E3, where he told them:

We love our fans. We appreciate everything that our fans do. We had to take this formal step to be very clear about our IP. The fans need to understand that we see the issue, we understand the issue, but, right now, all we’ve done is take the first step to protect our IP.

Nintendo has not confirmed it has dropped its claim to the ad revenue but it appears the company is allowing Zack Scott to monetise his captured content - at least for now.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this matter. Should Nintendo be taking the revenue, or do you think YouTubers have the right to make money from their content? Sound off in the comment section below.


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User Comments (72)



AVahne said:

Perhaps Nintendo should ease up a bit and at least let those with a license or permission to make money off their videos. They can probably continue making money off those who don't have a license or permission.



6ch6ris6 said:

i dont get why people watch these let's plays. it is nowhere near as entertaining as playing the games



yojo said:

The only lets play I watch is Game Grumps, and really the only reason I watch that is for Jon, Arin, and Berry, I don't give a carp about the games.



SkywardLink98 said:

Good. These guys are helping out Nintendo, so while Nintendo does have rights to a good amount of the revenue, so do the people that made the videos.



Portista said:

I only watch lets plays to see the story line if I don't want to play the game, or to see what a game is like before I buy.



devilwaffle said:

As an early Let's Player myself, I'm pretty happy about this. I don't monetize my videos, at least yet, and I'm only on my first series witch is a third party title, but I now definitely understand the trouble that the other let's players go through. And I'm glad they can get their ad revenue for it again, if this is true anyways.



Midnight3DS said:

"Should Nintendo be taking the revenue, or do you think YouTubers have the right to make money from their content?"

If Nintendo has rightful claim to the revenue, it's their IP in play, that's their decision to make, and either makes no difference to me. I wouldn't fault them either way. We'll need the courts to decide what is or isn't fair for youtubers, eventually. No pity party from me if youtubers lose.


I've watched lp's for games I've played for several reasons. Legalities aside, they have merit.



Gate_Shikimuri said:

I'll immediately take Nintendo's side if this goes to court. Because, honestly, why would you want somebody to make money off of your things?



Geonjaha said:

This was quite possibly the worst decision Nintendo has made in a while. I'm really hoping they drop it completely soon.

First off - lets move aside the issue of whether Nintendo has the right to do this, because even if they did, that's not the issue here.
YouTuber's who make videos for a living are ones that get enough views to do so, and these are the people who are going to stop putting anything Nintendo based into their videos to ensure their income. YouTubers who don't get many views who continue to put up Nintendo content anyway will provide next to nothing for Nintendo in terms of revenue - because a majority of people who are very popular on YouTube aren't going to give up all revenue for a video just to put something from Nintendo in it.

Basically all this move means in the long run is that Nintendo content for the most part disappears from YouTube (at least - with any kind of professionalism behind it), thus completely nullifying the point of Nintendo claiming revenue in the first place. Nintendo are going to lose out more on advertising from this than they are going to make from the revenue they get from the remaining videos. Not to mention their image is being harmed in the process.

@6ch6ris6 - That's because people watch YouTubers for the personality, not the game they're playing. All the more reason why moving away from Nintendo content for most channels wont be a problem.

This also applies to Reviews, Analysis, and any other content involving Nintendo content - it's not limited to Lets Plays.



devilwaffle said:

@ChaosAngel Although this is a pretty empty and theoretical claim, I'm working towards making video games myself for a career. And I would love for people to make money while enjoying and sharing my products. Why? Because it makes the fans happy, and that is going to be the goal of my future endeavors.



Xilef said:

@ChaosAngel I don't think this is a scenario that can end up in court. Nintendo can't be sued for protecting or controling their IP (unless it would go against some fair use law or something maybe).



Kevin said:

@6ch6ris6 Most watch Let's Plays as they can contain entertaining commentary. I watch for entertaining commentators and to see games I've never seen before that look interesting. The keyword is can since I find LPers like Game Grumps and any angry game channel very annoying.



Arcamenel said:

I guess it's nice if they did back off but at the end of the day it's their IP and they should be able to do whatever they please with it(within reason of course). Anyone hoping to make a living off showing off someone else's product is deluding themselves if they think it's perfectly fair because it isn't. Anyway most of the let's plays I watch are done by people who just really enjoy that particular game and hope to get more people into it. It was through watching Let's Plays of Monster Hunter that got me to buy Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate and I've sunk over 200 hours into that game since I bought it. That was another subscriber/viewer for the LPer and another sale for Nintendo.



drios07 said:

I just watch them for Dragon Quest...Nintendo bring dragon quest over dang it!



mikeyman64 said:

There's almost always a creative solution, sometimes called a compromise, to a problem. It's just a matter of finding it, and sometimes that takes time.



Geonjaha said:

@Arcamenel "Anyone hoping to make a living off showing off someone else's product is deluding themselves if they think it's perfectly fair because it isn't."

We're talking about interactive media here. Are people who make money playing sports "deluding themselves" because they didn't create the sport? No, of course not. If someone plays a chess game in a video, does the revenue go to the creator of the board game? No. We're not talking about books or movies here - this medium relies on the player, and thus has to be treated differently.



3Daniel said:

Might have been a conspiracy i made up but the initial announcement came out before e3 and during that time of e3 all nintendo related videos on youtube were followed with ads for sony and xbox content. I assumed nintendo did this as a means to to counter sony and microaoft's aggressive use of youtube ads. But i have no clue how that stuff works so i could be wrong.



Macarony64 said:

Lets see now who those let's players that said they where doing it to help the games realy are because very few lets players do it from unknown games just about famous games.



pc999 said:

They should easy it up, at the very least it is free advertising!!!



AltDotNerd said:

Nintendo's last mistake is in captivity. The galaxy is at peace.

Nintendo is once again the best game company.



Fazermint said:

@6ch6ris6 I too find Let's-Plays one of the dullest kinds of entertainment there is. I cannot fathom why anyone would voluntarily watch another individual that is (usually) unknown to them play a video game.

The internet is full of weird stuff...



Bulbousaur said:

I think that if the videos are very well made and encourage gamers to buy the game in question, such as videos by Chuggaaconroy and Josh Jepson, it makes the game more desirable to play. I bought Okami after watching a section of Chuggaaconroy's Let's Play of it, and I extremely enjoyed the game; and I'll buy Fallout 1 and 2 next time there is a Steam sale for them thanks to Josh Jepson's Fallout 3 LP.

However, I do agree YouTube and other Partnership Programs has been way too generous in giving any old video makers money for just ranting and screaming while playing a game, and 90% of Lets Plays out there are just bad really. If YouTube didn't just hand out money to anyone with a capture card, this problem wouldn't have ever arisen.



Geonjaha said:

@Bulby - Except there are thousands of people willing to watch that stuff. Not all of it is good of course, but even if people watch the bad stuff - it's still entertainment for a whole lot of people, and getting rid of that isn't a good idea.



AlternateButtons said:

I dont think you guys understand, this isn't just relating to Lets Players alone, this is relating TO EVERY NINTENDO THEMED CHANNEL. News channels, impression channels, review channels and comedy channels such as Peanutbutter Gamer and JonTron and so on, not JUST Lets Plays. And Get off your high horse saying that Lets Plays are boring entertainment. They're not only very entertaining but they give Nintendo free advertisement as well, something Nintendo could use. Come on guys, stop being so ignorant.



Metaknight_3Raw said:


Sometimes you can't play the games. I don't usually watch Let's Plays but when I do they've usually been Japanese 3DS games so I can get an idea of them such as Fantasy Life, Time Travelers or Bravely Default. It makes the pain of not having them easier to bare



Bulbousaur said:

@Geonjaha I agree, now YouTube has given so many people Partnership Programs, they need to stick to it and not take the programs away (unless the user becomes inactive). But ideally Let's Plays should have remained a non-profit hobby, unless the content creators produce quality videos, and its the sheer amount of people making money from them which caused this problem in the first place.



Geonjaha said:

@Bulby - Well one would hope that people only end up watching the high quality Lets Plays - whether that's because of a funny or interesting or informative play through. This is the internet though, so all hope is lost. :/



Discostew said:

I'd say at least half of revenue goes to Nintendo. It does require Nintendo IPs to even have the Let's Play series involving Nintendo content in the first place.



Rief said:

Seriously, it is NOT fair to make money with something that others created.
Nintendo is totally in the right here.
Free advertising?
Well, if Let's Players want to make free advertising, they should actually do it FOR FREE.



TromboneGamer said:

Some of those Let's Players are obviously desperate for money if they decide to stop producing videos simply because they can't make money off it anymore. I would be more than glad to have revenue by playing and giving commentary on games, but you should never do it just for the money. That's how I feel anyway.



Megumi said:

Honestly I never even knew about the whole Youtube thing and making money from it until my sister brought it up. Kinda Wished my videos were that popular, lol



AJWolfTill said:

It makes sense for some Indie games, particularly if you've never heard about it.
Also I'm sure there are money gamers out there who don't own every console. Perhaps they want to see what they are missing out on. For example someone who does not have a Wii U may want to see what the fuss was about ZombiU or someone who doesn't have a PS3 may have heard their friend raving about Heavy Rain or The Last of Us. The gaming audience is changing with the industry. My girlfriend loves video games but while she is at Uni she has no access to consoles so often watches Let's Plays to get a feel for them.
I think the only one she has watched all the way through was PewdiePie's Conker's Bad Fur Day LP.... Can you blame her?



Znerd said:

As a letsplayer my self i have to say i think Nintendo is approaching this the wrong way let me explain
in Nintendo defense it is their IP and they have to protect it but some lpers like Chuggaaconry put so much work into it its like a second job to them and they should be awarded for their hard work. And like alot of you say its anything nintendo related. I think what nintendo should do is that they should instead of taking all the revenue they should take a small cut of it like 10% if you ask me. I dont have many fans myself so i wouldn't know but i think most of them are Nintendo fans so my 40 fans love Nintendo and so do i. if I ever put the amount of work to where it fells like a second job to me i think i should be awarded but thats just my opinion cause soon my channel will take a new directions with disscusions reviews and other stuff with the LetsPlays Video and i gonna be working hard on it so Nintendo can get more fans through me 1253zman



Midnight3DS said:

LP's can make for good walkthroughs, too. All legal stuff aside, it's much more interesting than the old gamefaq text guides. Watch tv or watch an LP. What's the difference? Both can be entertaining/informative/stupid.

LPers just aren't entitled to an income based off someone elses IP.



devilwaffle said:

Just thought I'd put this out, as it is related to the subject of the post:
According to the famous Let's Player, Chuggaconroy, all of his claimed videos are still claimed and have not changed at all.



Sakura_Moonlight2421 said:

o3o Well being a visual learner, text guides without pics can only help me so much. LP's are the next alternative on advice I use to get past a level I can't on my own with some games if they baffle me.



JusticeColde said:

Nintendo does not offer licenses for their IPs, gaming channels must gain a company partnership (i.e. Machinima, The Game Station) to obtain such licenses.

So don't say that they should go get a license, because it's impossible unless you are popular by a certain margin (companies also take a specific cut of the revenue before the individuals see a cent)



Trippinator said:

@Fazermint Sometimes it's the game. I have been watching a Last of Us let's play because I don't own a PS3. Sometimes it's the personality playing the game. Jesse Cox and Chuggaaconroy are both very entertaining people, so, to me, it doesn't what they play.



Trippinator said:

I don't think people here understand. If NintendoLife was completely video-based rather than having articles, THEY wouldn't be making income either. Any person on YouTube to use the footage, not only for let's plays, but also for reviews and news, loses their income.



Objection said:

@SkywardLink98 Well-spoken, that's exactly how I feel about it. People DO buy games based off impressions in videos, whether it be reviews or LPs. There's no way to measure what % or whatnot, but it's there. To those saying LPs shouldn't make money...unless they're good? Who is the judge of that? The only ones that make any money are the ones with hundreds or thousands of views per video anyway.
Disclaimer: I am a Let's Player, although I technically haven't made any money off of it yet. (There's a threshold before you see a cent and I'm not quite there.)



Vincent294 said:

@Rief They have to put effort into making interesting, funny commentary. Watch Etho & Vintage Beef play Minecraft to see what I mean. Pause Unpause had a funny Let's Play for Resident Evil Revelations, though he didn't go past the 1st level. Sea Nanners is great too (watch him play GTA4, The Hidden, & Trouble in Terrorist Town). By the way, Pause Unpause swears, & some people Etho & Beef play w/ do too if you don't like vulgar videos, but I find them funny.



TwilightV said:

Meh. I only watch them if they can find ways to be amusing without dropping an f-bomb every half a sentence.



Araknie said:

I only watch them if i don't buy the game i wanna play so there's a reason to it.
Sometimes happens that i discover a game that way it really rare.

I'm glad that Nintendo is easing the tension but i dislike that nobody is talking about that in the comments, like they didn't read the article...



danthebro said:

All the people who say lpers are bad is a hypocrite i know if you were making money on youtube you would be defending yourself to the end of time nintendo gets free advertisements and no offense but their the hardcore they buy all the games atleast some of them do



b23cdq said:

@Rief If I make money using a computer, is that unfair because I didn't create that computer? Should I give all my earnings to Alan Turing?
Good let's plays are hard work, they take a lot of time. You have to play the game, you have to edit the footage, and last but not least, you have to be entertaining. It's harder than ot sounds.
This is entertainment. If people are good enough at it to make money on it, then let them make money.



Cia said:

I think it would be cool if Nintendo vanished completely from youtube. Now that would create some mystery around their games: You have to play to experience- in a way that would be compeletely impossible for other companies to copy without going through the same procedure.



Cia said:

I think it would be cool if Nintendo vanished completely from youtube. Now that would create some mystery around their games: You have to play to experience- in a way that would be compeletely impossible for other companies to copy without going through the same procedure.



P-Gamer-C said:

i said on day one nintendo was making a mistake glad to see they have done something right



DarkKirby said:

I have to say this for my experience with watching let's plays, I only watch them if I didn't plan on buying the game being played, had no intention of buying the game, or had no idea the game existed in the first place. In some cases, after watching some of the let's plays, I stop watching it (to prevent further spoilers) and I buy the game. Or, I already played the game being played.

Point is, if I wanted to play the game, I wouldn't be watching it as a let's play, so the publisher is not losing any revenue it might have gotten from me, and there are times watching the let's play has convinced me to buy the game.

Advertisements don't convince me anymore. I want to see actual unedited game play to see if a game is good or not.



AceTrainerAndy said:

Very smart on their part. I know a lot of people are mad because they feel YouTubers are "lazy" and need to get a real "job". They need to get over that. The way Nintendo needs to look at this is it is free advertising essentially.



WaxxyOne said:

Classy move, Nintendo. I totally understand their need to protect their IP, as copyright law, and all law in general, is based on precedent. If they don't act lay down their claim when someone breaks copyright, it's a slippery slope that can lead to a real developer using their IP to make money at Nintendo's expense, and then they could have their legal hands tied when they try to sue the developer and they use previous material that Nintendo did not block to justify the infringement. It can happen, people.

Lifting the restriction and allowing the user to make money from ads again is a great move that most companies wouldn't bother making. It's clear Nintendo cares about their fans, as they always have.



DubstepRacer said:

I'm happy that they are easing off because they work hard on making these videos and in some cases this is how they make money and when Nintendo makes a claim on their videos Nintendo rips off their hard work a by placing an ad there and making money off the YouTubers hard work. Hopefully they'll keep making bigger steps in not claiming videos.

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