Nintendo finally gets what other companies have known for years and is allowing players to monetize gameplay videos. The announcement will come as a relief to YouTube creators. Gamers have long had to decide if a cut of the profits for a Nintendo related video was worth the effort. Other video game companies have understood the influence YouTube gamers have in in drumming up interest and sales. So those companies have been willing to overlook copyright in favor of promotion. Now it looks like Nintendo will do the same.
Creating content that included any Nintendo property was not expressly forbidden. But the process involved favored the company over the gamer. Any creator who wished to monetize their videos had to join Nintendo’s Creator’s Program where the company would give them a cut of the profits. The program has been considered controversial among YouTubers who wound up receiving far less revenue than they ordinarily would for a video. For anyone who chose not to join, any revenue collected by Google’s AdSense was sent solely to Nintendo.
On Wednesday, Nintendo announced on their site that they would be lifting some of the restrictions regarding monetization for gameplay videos. The company also revealed that they will be shutting down their Creator's Program by the end of December and will not accept any more submissions. Any players wishing to post content will have to follow a new set of guidelines.
“As long as you follow some basic rules, we will not object to your use of gameplay footage and/or screenshots captured from games for which Nintendo owns the copyright (“Nintendo Game Content”) in the content you create for appropriate video and image sharing sites.”
The new rules apply to both Let’s Plays and livestreams and cover multiple websites including YouTube, Twitch, and Instagram. The guidelines place emphasis on the importance of uploading content that includes “creative input or commentary.” Let’s Plays and livestreams that include remarks from the gamer will now be applicable for monetization. There is, however, one exception to the rule. Players can “post gameplay video and screenshots using Nintendo system features, such as the Capture Button on the Nintendo Switch, without additional input or commentary.” Nintendo does include a rule about using third party content, such as music, stating it is up to the player to acquire permission.
Content creators can breathe a collective sigh of relief over the eased restrictions. Nintendo can enjoy the uptick in promotion for their games, especially for their upcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which launches next week. The timing of their new guidelines is too perfect to be called a coincidence. Potential buyers are sure to see plenty of related content upon the game’s release. While it is completely understandable that Nintendo would have wanted to protect their property, their strict rules were problematic and out of touch with the gaming community. Now players and Nintendo can benefit from the new rules.