Nintendo's YouTuber Affiliate Plan Is A Bureaucratic Mess Of Delays And Control

from the who'd-have-thought? dept

You may remember that several months ago, Nintendo announced plans to create a YouTuber-affiliate program that would finally allow YouTube personalities to, according to Nintendo, share in the ad revenue generated by YouTube videos featuring Nintendo content. Leaving aside the notion that such videos are essentially a version of free advertising for the company, there was also a great deal of concern over how much control Nintendo wanted to leverage over the content within the videos. The wording in the agreement made it clear that access was being traded for positive coverage, essentially destroying the trust relationship between YouTube producers and their hard-won audiences.

Well, as if those concerns weren't enough, it turns out that Nintendo can't even administer to their own program appropriately, the result of which is them attempting to exert even more control. The problem? Well, it turns out too many people wanted to sign up.

Many people are still waiting for Nintendo to approve their first set of submitted YouTube creations despite the company’s promise to process videos in “two to three days.” The game publisher has acknowledged the problem, and it says that it’s still working on getting caught up. Game videos on YouTube is a big business, as that category regularly has the biggest audience of viewers and subscribers.

“Due to your enthusiasm for the program, we’re receiving a higher volume of applications to register channels and videos than expected,” reads an update on the Creator’s Program website. “It is taking longer than we anticipated to confirm the applications. We appreciate your patience as we work through them as quickly as possible.”
Given the kind of money involved in game videos on YouTube, you have to believe the request for patience is being met with glares and stares. Especially, as I mentioned above, since Nintendo appears to be a subscriber to the theory that every crises is an opportunity. In this case, an opportunity to tighten their grip on video content even more, to a degree that's actually quite stunning.
Nintendo posted an extensive whitelist of games that it has said are OK to monetize on YouTube. You can read the list for yourself, since it’s far too long to include here. For people who did want to submit their entire YouTube channels to Nintendo, the company is now saying that it will have to turn down your application if you have any uploads featuring games not on the whitelist. That includes non-Nintendo games.

“If a video within your channel contains game titles outside of the list of supported games, please remove it from the channel before registering,” reads the website. “If you are unable to remove the video from your channel, please register each video that contains game titles on the list of supported games individually.”
Except, as Nintendo also noted, the company is first completing registrations or entire channels, while the wait time for registering individual videos has ballooned. What does this mean? Well, if you actually want to get this stuff rolling, you register your entire channel. And if you do that, you have to delete any videos that aren't on Nintendo's happy-happy approved list. That's about as clear-cut an example of using a bureaucracy to shape a message through complicit media as it gets, and it should be a warning to anyone who was thinking about getting into bed with Nintendo on this YouTuber thing but hasn't yet.

Because, and this is important, this is the beginning. If Nintendo is attempting to control video producers' content this way at the beginning, imagine what they have planned once they've convinced enough producers to sign up.


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  • icon
    Watchit (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 3:49pm

    Also, it's worth mentioning that the white list of games one can register to monetize, popular games such as Super Smash Bro's, Pokemon, and Bayonetta are excluded.

    Why Nintendo would exclude Super Smash Bro's from it's list is beyond me considering Smash is so popular as an e-sport. With these rules, things like Twitch Plays Pokemon may never have happened.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 4:20pm

      Re:

      For Super Smash Brothers, I think it's because they monetise that through the tournament scene, and they probably want to discourage people from running 'impromptu tournaments' and the like without appropriate licensing.

      For Bayonetta, it is arguably the most directly erotic, sexualized thing Nintendo has on its roster that I personlly am aware of, so they may want to limit association there.

      For Pokemon, they've always been stupid about pokemon, since they seem to take it as one of their biggest flagships. Pokemon is in its death throes, and as I predicted, their decisions around it are getting progressively worse and worse as they fight to keep it 'relevant', which ironically means 'ABSOLUTE CONTROL'

      *DISCLAIMER* I'm not saying any of this is sensical or good business, just a few possible reasonings.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 4:09pm

    Those conditions look like employment for a terrible rate of commission.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    S. T. Stone (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 4:19pm

    Nintendo has just signed a declaration of irrelevance.

    People like PewDiePie and Markiplier and all the other YouTube ‘letsplayers’ (or whatever you want to call them) have a particular amount of sway in their niche. I imagine people who watch them regularly would also try games based on their recommendations. Take that into account, and what do you think those letsplayers could do to Nintendo that would hurt the company the most? Ignoring Nintendo entirely.

    And as goes PewDiePie and his brethren, so goes the rest of YouTube. Nintendo already suffers from a ‘family-friendly’ image that has hampered the company’s long-term home console success. It also has a habit of seeming to ignore its fanbase (see: the Earthbound fandom). Another hit to Nintendo’s reputation might not send the company into financial ruin and all, but it would make any major success that much harder to achieve.

    Irrelevance dooms a company, and I can’t think of a quicker way to doom yourself to irrelevance than telling people how to talk about the content you produce. Nothing pisses people off more than censorship-by-contract, and I don’t think the people who signed up for this will accept Nintendo’s control for long.

    Nintendo made a huge mistake. Every Letsplayer should say so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 1:11pm

      Re:

      "Take that into account, and what do you think those letsplayers could do to Nintendo that would hurt the company the most? Ignoring Nintendo entirely."


      Not only this, but if those prominent "letsplayers" want to retain their credibility (and therefore popularity), they won't touch this program with a ten foot pole.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        S. T. Stone (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 2:45pm

        Re: Re:

        I imagine the major-name Letsplayers (e.g. PewDiePie, Markiplier) won’t touch this deal with a twenty-foot pole covered in protective plastic. I know PewDiePie has already come out against it.

        Smaller-name Letsplayers and hardcore Nintendo fans, on the other hand…yeah…

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 4:59pm

    Time to grow a spine Nintendo fans

    This needs to backlash on them in the worst way. The 'terms' they are offering, only good comments and the removal of all non-Nintendo content basically means anyone stupid enough to sign with them have become unpaid employees of the company, all for the 'privilege' of being able to show Nintendo content on their channels.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonmylous, 9 Feb 2015 @ 5:51pm

      Re: Time to grow a spine Nintendo fans

      No, its time for one of these lets play guys to get an atty and file a preemptive action against Nintendo for fair use and bust this whole thing back down. It is fair use, the audio and commentary added are why people watch it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 6:39pm

        Re: Re: Time to grow a spine Nintendo fans

        The problem is they would have to be bankrolled by someone, companies like Nintendo would not just allow a solid ruling like that to stand, they would fight back, and make it as expensive as possible.

        There's also the problem that even though fair use is technically on the books, in practice it pretty much requires you to go to court to defend it, with zero chance of getting your legal fees back if you do so, making it far too expensive a 'right' for most people to exercise.

        And finally, even if the above were dealt with, the ContentID system on YT is still horribly flawed, and would take a complete redesign to even approach 'reasonable', which isn't likely to happen any time soon.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:37pm

        Re: Re: Time to grow a spine Nintendo fans

        "the audio and commentary added are why people watch it."

        Speak for yourself. I have yet to see an LPer that I didn't want to shut the fuck up. The LPer's commentary lessens the experience for me.

        Just wanted to say that. I've watched quite a few let's plays and the LPers to a person annoy me.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 10:00pm

    I no longer believe anything coming out about reviews or let'splay type info. This article shows you why because those gaming companies with money on the line want total control over reviews so nothing bad about them is said. You can't have an honest review under those conditions. This means you can not trust any review due to these preagreements on what someone can or can not say/do/mention.

    The creditability is gone and it will not return.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 11:17pm

    why wouldn't gamers want to trust them at their word, after all they have only broken it about a dozen or more times.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 1:33am

    Well, if you actually want to get this stuff rolling, you register your entire channel.

    Or use platforms that either Nintendo can't take down or that are more friendly towards the users than the copyright holders. We could have a decentralized Youtube, no?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lurker Keith, 10 Feb 2015 @ 3:58am

    Good games, no sense

    Nintendo has awesome games, but sometimes I can't figure out if they're even thinking about some of the areas they try to touch outside their games.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      S. T. Stone (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 11:12am

      Re: Good games, no sense

      Oh, but they do.

      The problem comes from Nintendo’s overwhelming need to control every last aspect of how people see their ‘brands’. That control became apparent when the company tried to block a Smash Bros. tournament from the EVO fighting game tournament extravaganza. And Nintendo didn’t just try to stop the streaming of that tournament—it tried to stop the tournament from even happening. (Fan outcry from both Nintendo and fighting game fans convinced the company to ultimately let the show go on as planned.)

      Part of this desire to control ‘brands’ goes back to the debacle we know as Super Mario Bros.—not the game, but the Hollywood movie that soured Nintendo on licensing its brands out for years. But the family-friendly nature of Nintendo and many of its major franchises also plays a role in the company's desire for full control of how we ‘should’ see the brands.

      I can understand why Nintendo would want so much control, but I also realize they’ll never have it. Forcing YouTube personalities to only say good things about Nintendo’s first-party output in exchange for limited pay ahd the ‘privilege’ of using footage of Nintendo games in videos won’t help, either.

      By showing how far they’d go to keep control the public perception of its brands, Nintendo all but guaranteed it will never have a level of control with which the company will feel comfortable.

      Nintendo has lost this fight.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 1:16pm

        Re: Re: Good games, no sense

        And let's not forget that this is the same Nintendo that has been punished a number of times for violating antitrust laws (including being issued one of the largest fines the European Commission ever handed out), including things like price-fixing and telling retailers that they can't sell Nintendo stuff if they sell competitor's stuff.

        This kind of behavior is deeply woven into their corporate culture.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2015 @ 5:44am

    This is essentially a problem Nintendo created for themselves.

    Had they left well enough alone, there wouldn't be a backlog.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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