Nintendo Creator’s Program announced, and is it a good thing?

nintendo creator's program youtube

On January 28th, Nintendo launched a new affiliate program for YouTubers. Of course, on paper it looks good: it’s a way to let YouTubers make money off their YouTube-posted Nintendo-related videos. However, after a look at the small details and fine print, the outcome doesn’t look as good as it sounds. Another case of the “Too-Good-to-be-Trues.”

They call it the “Nintendo Creator’s Program,” and the premise is that people can earn advertising proceeds on any Nintendo-related item that uses gameplay footage of Nintendo games. In other words: things such as “Let’s Plays,” walkthroughs, or just about any other run-of-the-mill video put up by people would all be eligible to make money from advertising. Sounds great, you think! Sign me up, you say.

However, in order to earn this money, YouTubers need to register individual videos or entire channels with Nintendo. With specific videos, YouTubers can earn up to 60% of advertising proceeds, and registered channels earn a little more at 70%. But, as a caveat Nintendo holds the right to change those percentage tiles “may be changed arbitrarily.” Now, hopefully Nintendo will not go around and change these rates to something so absurdly low that it wouldn’t even be worth it to partner. Because, the fact of the matter is that the fine print does exist does not inspire much hope in the program.

Another big question occurs when people wish to use game footage of Nintendo products for their review videos. This puts Nintendo content into an odd position: Should Nintendo be able to gain a share of the advertising revenue on such videos? Of course, since Nintendo made the product they would want in on some of the gains being generated by using their product. However, when a review runs in a professional gaming outlet, chances are that said outlet would not be paying the developer or publisher any certain percentage of money just because their in-game footage is being used. Nevertheless, under the “Nintendo Creator’s Program” it is policy for Nintendo to take their share of the gains for any and all footage of Nintendo content used under this agreement.

What about turnaround time? Under this partnership, it can “regularly take up to three business days” for registered videos to be reviewed and cleared for the program; this puts YouTubers at a potential disadvantage. While it remains unclear if entire channels would have to wait that long, the problem is already self-evident. Returning to the previous example about a YouTuber review of a Nintendo game, would the fact that they have to wait for their video to be “okay’d” by Nintendo influence what a reviewer has to say? If so, is the public receiving an appropriately educated and informed review about said product? I am dubious of the notion.

It seems likely that people would be less honest about the game, and afraid to offer (constructive) criticism of Nintendo’s product for fear they would not receive their clearance to post the video and begin earning money. Reviews are hard enough to get out on time, to educate the public so only adding more rules to the mix does not run in the interest of YouTubers trying to make income, or even the consumer wishing to have an informed opinion before making a Nintendo-related purchase. It only serves one company: Nintendo.

“Not only do you have to essentially pay Nintendo to review their game, you have to review their game by their rules,” YouTuber Geek Remix pointed out in a recent video. “You’ve signed a contract with them in order to be allowed to review their game.”

Of course, I am not making the claim that the “Nintendo Creator’s Program” is all bad, because it is certainly a major upgrade from the previous rules, where Nintendo-related content could only allow Nintendo and YouTube to make advertising revenue. I say it is a step in the right direction, especially since they won’t be shutting down entire channels in order to censor viewers, and guide them to only the videos that would make Nintendo look even better.

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