Earlier today we reported on Nintendo's move to gain revenue from user-created "Let's Play" videos on YouTube. The company has apparently been filing content ID claims against certain users, a move which stops short of blocking accounts but means that Nintendo is able to make cash off advertisements which play during the clip, thereby depriving the creator of valuable cash.
This move has generated quite a stir on the internet, and Thomas Was Alone creator Mike Bithell has added his voice to the chatter. Speaking in a piece on Develop, Bithell was highly critical of Nintendo's move, stating that it was ultimately counter-productive and would hurt the company in the long run:
Nintendo seems to be taking a very literal approach to the scene. "This guy is making money from videos of Mario, that should be our money". That is phenomenally silly.
The guy in question is most likely not making much; even the big guys only get a tiny amount of money by international hardware company standards. Nintendo really, really doesn't need their cash. By taking these sums away, they are massively dissuading them from continuing to make content from their game.
But why should they care about losing an LPer? Well, put bluntly, marketing. The audience of these videos are an excitable, tribal group that go out and spend a great deal of money on the games talked about.
I'll close with an example from Thomas Was Alone's sale history. The game launched in July on direct sales, and in November on Steam. The following Christmas I ran a 50 per cent off sale, which was doing rather well.
And then, on January 1st, Total Biscuit did a WTF video about the game. Thomas sold eight times more units than on launch day. In a matter of hours. I was outselling Assassin's Creed 3 on Steam.
Bithell ends his piece with the comment ""Nintendo. You're doing it wrong". Given his experience on the topic, it's hard to disagree; this seems like a very backwards thing to do, and could potentially impact Nintendo's presence on YouTube — and ultimately harm its commercial fortunes as a result.
Do you agree with Bithell viewpoint? Or should Nintendo be allowed to claim revenue on videos which are based entirely around its IP? Post a comment to tell us.