Streaming games is a big deal on YouTube, and there have been numerous examples of how, when a big personality picks a game to play, it has a positive effect on the commercial fortunes of said game.
While many publishers are happy to support YouTubers who play their games on the video-sharing site, Nintendo has taken a somewhat draconian approach.
The company launched a Creators Program for YouTube in 2015, but announced this year that members wouldn’t be able to livestream Nintendo games. Creators Program members could still upload "Let’s Play" videos, however. Even then, Nintendo takes a bigger cut of any ad revenue generated via the videos than is normal, and if you don't sign up, you get hit with a copyright infringement notice. As a result, several high-profile YouTube stars have chosen to ignore Nintendo games and have publicly attacked the company for its practices on the site.
While it's tempting to think that Nintendo has its head in the sand on this issue, YouTube’s head of gaming, Ryan Wyatt, reveals that the Japanese giant takes the whole matter very seriously and is "spending a lot of time" mulling over its options. He did add, however, that there's still a lot of work to be done:
They’re spending a lot of time looking at how to engage their creation community and how to handle monetization. [YouTubers] are able to livestream Nintendo content and monetize through our non-ad products. That’s a better question served to them for what they want to do in the future, but I think there are ways to better improve and better optimize how they work with the creators.
Of course, none of this means that anything is likely to change in the near future, but we're hoping that Nintendo will finally wake up to the incredible marketing potential YouTube offers - before many of its biggest personalities turn their backs on the company for good.