Nintendo Shares Ad Revenue With Youtubers


As of January 28, Nintendo’s finally releasing the beta version of its Nintendo Creators Program – and many popular Youtubers aren’t too happy about it.

“In the past, advertising proceeds that could be received for videos that included Nintendo-copyrighted content (such as gameplay videos) went to Nintendo, according to YouTube rules,” Nintendo stated on the program’s webpage. “Now, through this service, Nintendo will send you a share of these advertising proceeds for any YouTube videos or channels containing Nintendo-copyrighted content that you register.”

Essentially, the service allows Let’s Players, walkthrough enthusiasts, and even casual players to make a decent amount of extra money off of their videos that contain original gameplay footage from a Nintendo game. The only stipulation seems to be the required disclaimer users must add to the videos, either verbally or in a caption: “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.” Individually uploaded videos earn 60% of the proceeds, while channels can earn 70%. Unfortunately, the fine print also adds that these numbers “may be changed arbitrarily,” which, in the world of business, might mean that we’ll see these rates going down over time.


Needless to say, the people who do make money from YouTube off of their videos on a regular basis have already found a few significant flaws in the program. From PewDiePie’s Tumblr:

First off all, they have every right to do this and any other developer / publisher have as well. There’d be no “let’s play” without the game to play. And we (YouTubers) are humble to this fact. 

But what they are missing out on completely is the free exposure and publicity that they get from YouTube / YouTubers. What better way to sell / market a game, than from watching someone else (that you like) playing it and enjoying themselves?

This is why a tiny one man indie game like Minecraft could grow into a 2.5 billion dollar deal. That’s 2.5 billion… Made possible, largely because of the exposure it got from YouTube!

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. Not necessarily because they want to watch a Nintendo game in particular. 

Yes, there are exceptions of YouTube channels that uploads day 1 release of a game, 50 parts just to milk views off YouTube. That’s more of a problem for YouTube than Nintendo.

I also think this is a slap in the face to the YouTube channels that does focus on Nintendo game exclusively. The people who have helped and showed passion for Nintendo’s community are the ones left in the dirt the most.

And finally, when there’s just so many games out there to play. Nintendo games just went to the bottom of that list. Even if more publishers starts implementing this idea of sharing revenue. Then fine, there’s always going to be plenty of games out there, ready to become the next “Mienkraft” – Sounds cheesy, but it’s true.

Zack Scott, another YouTube gamer, also challenges the irony of game developers demanding a percentage of video game ad revenue just as other Youtubers demanded a percentage of game sales revenue. “This program further drives a wedge between video creators and game developers,” he explained in his latest Facebook post. ” I’ve always felt our relationship was mutually beneficial, and most developers from large AAA studios to the smallest indies agree. I cringed when I heard about certain YouTubers demanding a percentage of game sales revenue in exchange for coverage. I feared that developers would adopt the same sentiment and demand a percentage of video ad revenue. With Nintendo’s latest move, that time has come.”


Back in 2013, Nintendo angered Youtubers further by claiming any and all ad revenue from videos that featured content of any kind from their games. The Creators Program is definitely a step forward, but it still has a few kinks of its own to work out.

About Deborah Crocker

Deborah is a 22 year old semi-hermit currently plodding through her senior year of college and getting her feet wet in game journalism. She has a somewhat unhealthy obsession with high fantasy, video games, novels, and Elder Scrolls. When she's not in front of a screen, she enjoys singing and a bit of beading. She's also currently on the hunt for the restaurant with the best cheeseburger.

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