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YouTube Stars Butt Heads With Nintendo Over Video Ad Revenue

Maybe a game of competitive Mario Kart would settle it.

YouTube Stars Butt Heads With Nintendo Over Video Ad Revenue
[Photo: Flickr user Tnarik Innael]

It’s often baffling to see classic tech companies so dramatically miss the point of paradigm shifts like the Internet. “Baffled” certainly seems to sum up certain YouTube personalities’ response to Nintendo’s recent agreement to start splitting profits of game-related videos with vloggers.

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Nintendo’s turnaround was announced last week, when it backed down on its previous demands to claim all ad revenue for any videos featuring its copyrighted images and game footage. Instead, Nintendo’s new affiliate “Creators Program” offers video makers 60% of the revenue from individual videos—or 70% of the money if they register and post to Nintendo-specific channels.

But according to YouTube’s most popular user, PewDiePie, the move is another example of the gaming giant showing ingratitude toward its fans. “What they are missing out on completely is the free exposure and publicity that they get from YouTubers,” Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie, wrote in a Tumblr post. “What better way to sell/market a game, than from watching someone else (that you like) playing it and enjoying themselves?”

Kjellberg also notes that when Nintendo claims ownership of views on his own Nintendo-related videos, it gives him no credit for building a brand by himself. “If I played a Nintendo game on my channel most likely most of the views/ad revenue would come from the fact that my viewers are subscribed to me,” he continued. “Not necessarily because they want to watch a Nintendo game in particular.”

While Kjellberg’s 34 million subscribers make him the most notable YouTube dissenter, he’s certainly not alone in his views. In a separate Facebook post, fellow YouTube creator Zack Scott wrote, “I’ve never dealt with a game company that didn’t want the exposure that video creators bring to their games. This week, Evolve and Dying Light, two of the biggest games right now, are being heavily pushed in the YouTube and Twitch communities.”

“Due to the openness of other developers, I find Nintendo’s approach odd. When comparing other developers’ policies, I see no appeal for established YouTubers. This program further drives a wedge between video creators and game developers.”

Ultimately, it’s a difficult one to call. Nintendo’s not making friends with its approach—despite agreeing to pay out a percentage of the YouTube ad money it makes. Furthermore, it runs the risk of finding itself as the stand-in for YouTubers’ distaste for large companies trying to dictate terms in an arena where they are the relative newcomers.

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Nintendo, for its part, is desperately trying to stay relevant—which in 2015 means figuring out how to benefit from social media, monetarily or otherwise.

[via Nintendo Life]

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