As an aspiring YouTuber I have grown to enjoy and really respect the work, artistry, and thoughtfulness that Angry Joe puts into his videos and show (WARNING: He uses foul language on the regular). You can tell he is passionate about video games, but also that he strives to have quality content, fair criticism, and accurate praise for all the various video games that he plays and reviews. Recently, however, he encountered a bothersome problem with Nintendo’s policy about creating videos with their games when he made a “let’s play” video for Mario Party 10. To put it concisely, Nintendo wants 40% of any ad revenue from videos that contain their games and his video got flagged. In light of what many other game companies are doing, this is jaw-droppingly stupid. And it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Angry Joe has sworn off doing any Nintendo videos or agreeing to their greedy terms. I think he’s right, and all game channel YouTubers should follow suit.
Hey Nintendo, the 90’s called…
Nintendo has a history of being backwards thinking, bridge burning, and seemingly ignorant of gaming trends and how to leverage healthy relationships with game creators. They haven’t been a dominant force in the console world since the Nintendo 64, which was the last time they really lead the pack with innovation and trend setting. Yes, the Wii was first to pioneer motion driven games, but it never managed to get out of the gimmick category for most gamers because the motion tracking was too simplistic and limited. So to a degree, it isn’t surprising that Nintendo is applying outdated ideas and policies that will inevitably, as they have in the past, backfire on the them. This is the digital age, Nintendo, and stifling content creation and experience sharing of your games is a quick road to irrelevance. Why, by default, would you shrink the amount of people who are creating what amounts to free advertising for you? Greedily grabbing after ad revenue is just a narrow corporate minded approach that seems completely ignorant of the context we are in.
Money for what?
The real question is… What is the meager revenue from 40% of ad clicks from the small number people that actually agree to Nintendo’s terms going to go to? The truth is, this isn’t about money, it’s about control. Nintendo has always been about control, and it’s why they lost so many relationships with game creators over the years. I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing or just a different business philosophy, but controlling use of content is at the core of this, not the small amount of revenue they will get from the ad clicks. I’m not a prophet, but I’m fairly certain this will be another decision in a long line of bad decisions that will result in less market share and representation for Nintendo. Twitch streaming and YouTube channels have become a massive medium for sharing and creating content, and video game themed content is easily the most popular form of digital content you’ll find. So Nintendo has a choice: Continue to apply self-defeating outdated practices or jump on the band wagon and join the rest of the digital leveraging companies in the 21st century.
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