Is Nintendo’s YouTube Content Policy Really Anti-YouTuber?

Angry Joe Vargas recently did a video about Nintendo’s YouTube policies after he had a pull a video due to a copyright notice. Joe does his final rant about the ordeal, even though Nintendo’s policies for YouTubers and Let’s Play content has been in place since January, 2015. This sparked off a ripple effect of multiple media outlets also chiming in to talk about how Nintendo’s policies aren’t very YouTube friendly. But is Nintendo policies really anti-YouTuber as some people have been claiming?

So what’s the big hullabaloo about? Well, back in January, a lot of gaming sites covered Nintendo’s official stance on YouTube content involving their products and games. If you’re going to monetize your content and it involves a Nintendo product, you have include the following line of disclosure, as reported by Gamespot

“I have a license to use Nintendo’s content in this video through the Nintendo Creators Program. This video is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, but any advertising revenue from this video will be shared with Nintendo.”

The short gist of the situation is that if you want to make money on a video containing any trademarked or licensed Nintendo properties, you have to add the disclosure and the Big ‘N’ has to get a cut of the revenue whether you like it or not.

Apparently Joe doesn’t like sharing the revenue with Nintendo, prompting for his angry rant below.

I can agree with the frustration of pumping 30 to 60 hours into editing a video only for it to have to be pulled. And I can understand not wanting to share revenue with a company for what’s essentially free advertising for their product(s).

However, Joe is a bit off on a few points. He mentions that EA gets a lot of flak for this kind of stuff but Nintendo doesn’t. This is simple: there was a list of 10 reasons why people hated EA. Really, it’s that simple. That’s why EA used to get a whole lot of flak and won Worst Company in America two years in a row.

EA has improved since then and have actually moved toward correcting each of the items on that list. That’s worthy of some admiration and people have given EA some leeway in that regards. But you can’t compare a history of anti-consumer antics with Nintendo wanted a share of money from YouTube videos. That’s disingenuous compared to multiple titles where EA screwed over fans and developers with their practices over the years. One YouTube policy doesn’t compare to more than a decade of anti-consumer practices and poor employment conditions, as noted by the Spouses Against EA campaign.

Now Joe mentions that EA actually helps YouTubers and pays them through their Ronku program – a program that came under fire in 2014 during the XB1M13 scandal when YouTubers were promoting EA and Xbox content without disclosure.

Basically, the Let’s Play content during the Ronku program were the equivalent of Gawker or Buzzfeed or any other major website partaking in Native Advertising without disclosure. I don’t really know why Joe would use the Ronku campaign as a way of saying EA is pro-capitalism when it wasn’t really pro-consumer. Yes, EA paid YouTubers for their Let’s Play content, but they did it in a way that was flagrantly dishonest, even going as far as to claim they were abiding by FTC regulations when the YouTuber content agreement actually revealed that they contractually obligated YouTubers to not disclose the financial ties to the program, a clear violation of the advertising regulations.

Nevertheless, Joe chalks up the silence on Nintendo requesting a cut of YouTuber revenue as fanboys and haters running to the Big ‘N’s defense, saying…

“A whole bunch of fanboys and a whole bunch of haters trying to keep the people quiet.”

Not necessarily. Nintendo doesn’t have a history of anti-consumer behavior on their track record.

Objectively speaking, Nintendo is attempting to take a cut of the revenue that YouTubers are making on their products. Is it kind of a dick move? Yes. Is it wrong? Well, it depends on what we define as “right” by means of capitalism. It’s a gray area. Joe, however, wants to define the right side of it as YouTubers being able to make money on a company’s product but not have to give a company any money in return. Nintendo wants to define the right side of it as their product generating YouTubers revenue, therefore they deserve a cut of that revenue.

Artists of all kind usually continue to have that discussion about content copyright and content sharing even to this day. For example, even musicians will want a cut of the revenue if their song is used in any kind of work that generates revenue. Does that make musicians who want a cut of revenue if their song is used in a video anti-YouTuber?

Some developers are just happy that big name YouTubers are bringing awareness to their game and are happy that people are engaging with their product. Other developers want to take a cut of the revenue because they feel without their work and hard effort, the YouTuber wouldn’t have a game to play.

In Nintendo’s case it’s not like they’re saying YouTubers can’t use their content or can’t stream their games or make money from it… they just want a piece of the financial pie.

There’s no easy solution to the conundrum, but a lot of the hate that the media is laying at the feet of Nintendo seems almost unfair, especially given that many of those within the dying media were at one point complaining about people using ad blockers because it was like “stealing their content”.


Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Contact.

19 thoughts on “Is Nintendo’s YouTube Content Policy Really Anti-YouTuber?

  1. I know I’m going to be called a Nintendo fanboy for saying this but, Nintendo has the right to request for a cut in the revenue from youtubers for using their products, as should any other video game company, even EA and Ubisoft. They put the time and effort and money into making the games for their consumers, and Youtubers want to make money off of games made by said company is just plain idiotic, as is the excuse of, “It’s free advertisement” If it’s free advertisement, then why should you make money off of this, “Free advertisement” if people only watch you for the personality, rather than the actual gameplay?

    1. I kind of feel the same way. The only time I feel that the you-tuber has all the right for all the profit is for like a review in which game footage is used to prove a point. Something that takes a lot of work and effort to put out and not a “hey here’s ten-twenty minutes of raw or barely edited footage of me playing this game,” where I believe the game creators have the right to ask for a slice of the cash. That doesn’t mean I believe creators SHOULD do it, just that they can and shouldn’t be getting a ton of hatred for it, just a “eh it’s a dumb move, and I’ll voice this displeasure in a respectful way.”

      Similar thing to the Mario 64 HD thing. For me, Nintendo had every right to do it, and I have no feelings either way about it because the creator of that demo used assets that were ripped from official Mario games (the model from Galaxy and the sounds from 64). Technically speaking this would be theft of assets since Nintendo didn’t release the assets. But I digress. If he had made EVERYTHING from scratch, I’d be more on his side (although I really want to see something original from the guy, he sure does have talent).

      An example of what I mean is AM2R (Another Metroid 2 Remake) for the past… 4 years there has been a blogspot page that chronicles the development of a fan made remake (and in some cases, re-imagining, similar to how Zero Mission was a remake of the NES game) made entirely from the ground up, including sprites and sounds and music and maps, not a thing in that project has been taken from an official source, and for four years of open development with regular updates and multiple demos, the guy hasn’t been sent a C&D and you can BET Nintendo knows of the project by now.

      1. Plus you’ve got the fan translation of Mother 3, Nintendo were well aware of it, but they didn’t stop it, because they knew that they weren’t going to release an official English version of it, so they let the team do translate the game, Then you’ve got the Brawl Mods, which I’m pretty sure Nintendo knows of because of PM, But guess what? It doesn’t permanently alter Brawl to where it wouldn’t be recognizable. Nintendo even had announced quite awhile back that they’d allow for fanmade games to be made based off of their franchises. The Mario 64 HD demo of course was made for the sole purpose to allow the creator to understand the character movement if I recall correctly, so he decided to release it not realizing that he has copyrighted models and tracks in his game, which made Nintendo have to take legal action. People don’t try looking at it from a companies point of view, they just want to be, “Oh it’s free advertisment” When people would only watch the video solely for the commentator. That’s not to say I don’t think Nintendo never makes mistakes (Like region locking, Online not up-to date, no in-game recording for longer than a minute, etc.) But I still respect Nintendo, not as a fanboy, but as someone who prefers quality over quantity. I even care about the problems Iwata and Sakurai go through, (Like Iwata having a serious case of the flu for awhile, and Sakurai having pains in his arms, from all of the working on Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U) not because they’re from Nintendo, but because they’re human beings, and I feel bad when they’re not feeling the greatest.

      2. An example of what I mean is AM2R (Another Metroid 2 Remake)

        I was actually not aware of this and will Google it up and write something about it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Always great finding out about this kind of stuff.

  2. Nintendo is worse than Sony, when it comes to marketing. They literally only advertise during the launch window of new hardware, to promote pricecuts, and the holidays. That’s it. And they’ve pretty much left the WiiU for dead, since the 2nd year….all but killing it off, by announcing the NX, without adequately detailing what it is. Since I don’t live in Japan, don’t buy gaming publications, and I rigorously employ the latest adblocking tech in my browser, the only hope for me to know what Nintendo has to offer me is through TV. If I’ve seen more than 5 TV ads for a Nintendo branded product in the last 5 years, I don’t remember it. XBOX..all over the place. Primetime TV, weekends, sports networks…MS aims to make your eyes bleed with their onslaught of TV ads. If you don’t know about XBOX, and what it is, or has to offer, it’s because you don’t care for the brand.
    My point is, Nintendo needs to take the indie angle on this subject, and just be glad people are willing to promote their products for them, since they can’t be bothered to do it themselves. It’s not like these Youtubers are becoming millionaires off of showing footage of their games…especially when the same, or similar footage can be readily seen in various other sites all over the net.

    1. I actually agree with you.

      I think Nintendo needs to further embrace new wave media beyond doing Nintendo Directs and Treehouse events.

      They don’t advertise anywhere near as much as they used to on national television, and the gatekeepers of old — the Kotakus and Polygons — they’re all in on seeing the Big ‘N’ fall. They’ve been spelling Nintendoom since 2012.

      For the NX Nintendo will desperately need to embrace new and different marketing tactics. Relying on a few TV ads during the holiday season and sporadic Nintendo Directs just won’t cut it.

      1. They also need to support their 3rd parties better, they willfully left games like Wonderful 101 to die on launch and Platinum had to self market the game themselves. I haven’t seen Devil’s Third but I expect the same.

        A while back Platinum were talking about becoming a Nintendo 1st party developer, after such treatment I don’t blame them getting into bed with Microsoft who have a massive marketing department and can strong arm a game into the charts.

    2. why would nintendo react, when forums are full of people praising the 3 or 4 games that exist for the wii u? why would they change something, when the message fans are sending them is “ohh yeah, nintendo, amazing, we love you,please, don’t change anything, just keep on giving us these games : super mario, zelda,smash bros,mario kart,mario party,pokemons and monster hunters, with each new console, and that’s perfect, that’s all we want and need, every 3, 4, 5 years”.
      more ps4 units were sold in less than 6 months than wii u’s, since its launch, almost 30 months ago. again, fans will claim their console is doing “incredibly well”, with plenty of “fantastic” and “innovative titles”.

  3. it would be an issue if nintendo was not completely up front about their youtube policies….its their product at the end of the day and they are allowed to forgo the benefits of having their games on youtube if they want

  4. yeah guys…
    keep on liiking nintendos S, keep on protecting them, keep on saying they are the best, bla bla, keep on saying their console is as powerful as a ps4 or x1, keep on saying that there are enough games for the platform, keep on praising it and applauding, anytime the old administration comes up with another stupid decision for you, gamers, keep on saying bravo for the wii u, keep on saying that one day, the wii u will catch the competition sales, keep on saying you don’t need 3rd party support, etc etc…

    and by 2020, you will still getting the same super mario super wii u 2 version, super super mario kart wii u 2, super great mario party wii u 2, along another 2 or 3 titles, all that during 5 or 6 years.

    keep on praising nintendo, they love you. and don’t forget to spend another 100 bucks on those am$$$bo$ that costs 2$ to make, in china, they will love you even more.

      1. Because he knows how much we all value his opinion on the subject… No wait. We don’t. I would however be willing to donate to help him buy a new shift key. His is clearly broken.

    1. Weird, don’t you guys buy Nintendo last gen a bit after next gen is released so you have a nice catalog of cheap, high quality games? I love Nintendo systems for the main IPs but always considered them my secondary gaming device since Wii.
      Wasn’t there even that laughable Microsoft buzzphrase of “This Christmas go Wii60” (as in, buy Wii and XBox, screw Sony?)
      I do that, but with outdated Nintendo and Sony. Also, sadly, outdated PC 🙁

    2. Hey, Sony fan boy, please take the advice of the meme, okay? Thank you. Finally, by the way, I am a fan of NO gaming system, INCLUDING the PC, MAC, or mobile gaming systems.

      1. …and speaking of things that suck, yourself and dicks often come up in the same sentence now, do they not? Also, typical butt hurt, Lucifer worshiping douchebag that hates it when they get called out on their bullshit in yourself.

  5. I look at it like this, a while back PewDiePie put out a series of Skate 3 videos on his youtube channel, their popularity forced EA to put the game into reprint and it’s been in the charts for over a year.

    With Nintendo’s video policies this will never happen with their games from any major Youtuber like Angry Joe, etc. A lot of people won’t even list Nintendo games in top 10 of the year lists as a few seconds of footage or their music can have the entire video flagged as Nintendo’s property. Nintendo even do this for reviews in most instances.

    Nintendo is not doing anything legally wrong but they are not helping either their 3DS or Wii U with such a position when my earlier example proves that most lets plays are indeed free advertising. I love this company but they will stay dead last while they carry on with such practices. The world is simply moving on without them.

  6. This seems to only be an issue for the big YouTubers who make serious money from their content. Nintendo has the full legal authority to request these takedowns from YouTube. It is still questionable how much ownership should the player have over his own gameplay. If a Youtuber makes a video doing a bike stunt should the bike manufacturer request part of the ad money?

    My personal opinion – it is unwise for Nintendo to do this. Shunning big time YouTubers could reflect bad on them. I myself find little to no value in youtube let’s plays and reviews, but I can not deny their influence. As mentioned in the article above people like PewDiePie have actual marketing power. Boogie was approached by both Sony and MS to review their games. They are being recognised as the new media for games and from their perspective it would be much more worthwhile to review a Sony/MS game than a Nintendo one if they make more money out of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar