Eight months after it first announced its plan to split revenue with YouTubers who play its games, Nintendo has launched its Creators Program in beta. Thanks to the new program, Nintendo will give creators the majority of revenue on all relevant videos.
The Creators Program includes two separate services for creators. Some gamers will use the program to monetize individual videos that feature Nintendo content. On those videos, creators will earn 60% of ad revenue. The second option turns Nintendo into an MCN of sorts; creators have the option to set up channels dedicated to Nintendo games, on which they can earn a 70% cut of the revenue. The Verge notes a statement from Nintendo, however, which states that “this rate may be changed arbitrarily.”
For a long time, Nintendo was known for heavily policing YouTube videos featuring its games. In 2013, it flagged a large number of those videos at once so it could monetize them and claim any resulting revenue. Nintendo acted well within its rights, but the company’s policy did not sit well with the YouTube community, and many “Let’s Players” boycotted Nintendo’s entire library in response.
Eventually, Nintendo wizened up. It realized that the free marketing YouTube gamers provide is far more valuable than the money they make via ad revenue. This is a phenomenon we’ve written about a lot–particularly related to games like Minecraft and DayZ–and it recently popped up related to a game called Best Fiends, which soared toward the top of the app store charts after striking a deal with PewDiePie and other YouTube gamers.
Even though the Creators Program is a step in the right direction, all is not well in Nintendoland. Kotaku published a long article explaining the drawbacks of Nintendo’s new policy; among other gripes, the gaming blog takes issue with Nintendo’s requirement that all videos in the Creators Program receive the company’s approval before they can be posted. “Adding rules that require Nintendo to okay a video before it can run does not serve the interest of the consumer, or the interests of a YouTuber,” says the article. “It only serves Nintendo.”
Several YouTubers have chimed in with criticisms of their own. Zach Scott, a longtime critic of the company’s YouTube policy, claims the new program “further drives a wedge between video creators and game developers,” and he explains how Nintendo’s policy is still far from many other AAA game publishers, which allow YouTubers to use game footage without sharing a cent. Another YouTuber, Geek Remix, posted an entire video in which he lays into Nintendo’s new deal:
It’s true that Nintendo is still taking a fairly aggressive stance when it comes to YouTube content. But something is better than nothing, and gamers who love Nintendo’s franchises have much to gain from the new agreement. The Creators Program, which is currently in beta, will launch for good on May 27th–exactly one year after it was first announced.