Should Video Game Publishers Block Their Content on YouTube?


YouTube, it’s something isn’t it? You can find just about any video on YouTube, from learning how to tie a tie, to backyard BBQ recipes. What most people don’t realize when they’re watching a YouTube video is that in most cases, the person who posted whatever viral video your watching is making money from it. The YouTube industry has boomed over the last few years, creating a lot of “jobs” and putting a lot of cash into people’s pockets.

Remember the days when YouTube didn’t have commercials before each video? Yeah, me too. These days it’s rare to find a video that doesn’t have a commercial in front of it. See, YouTube will allow users to make money off of videos if they can put an advertisement in front, during, or after a video.

YouTube gets money from the company advertising, then gives a little to the YouTube member, depending on how many views the person gets on said video. It’s an easy process, and yes you can even put your home movies up on the service and, provided they get enough views, you can make money from it.

While everyone knows about the viral hits that have gone big via the site, and the celebrities that have been found thanks to YouTube, the gaming community has seen it’s fair share of exposure thanks to the site as well. Call of Duty was really the first game that brought players to YouTube to see various skill shots and gameplay videos.

Then the other big games like Halo, Minecraft, Battlefield, and World of Warcraft started flooding the site. If you wanted a walkthrough of a game, chances are someone put it up on YouTube. Wanted to see a crazy throwing axe across the map kill in in Call of Duty? There’s quite a few of those.

YouTubers who learned how to record gameplay started making bank. Companies like Machinima started teaming up with YouTubers, making the process of putting a video up on the site an actual job. There are people who go to work, in an office, playing all day just to post videos on YouTube. One guy even found a job with Activision, after spending a year making Call of Duty weapon guides!

Recently Nintendo has decided to start claiming the ad revenue from any videos that feature their games. This news came first from YouTube users, who found the money from their videos that contained footage of Nintendo games wasn’t being paid to them. Nintendo, to their credit, doesn’t want to block people from using their video games when making videos for YouTube.

One YouTuber, Zack Scott, who has a popular channel on the site, posted his thoughts on the issue via Facebook, saying: “I think filing claims against people who make “Let’s Play” videos (a video that is essentially watching the entire game) is backwards. Video games aren’t like movies or TV. Each play-through is a unique audiovisual experience. When I see a film that someone else is also watching, I don’t need to see it again. When I see a game that someone else is playing, I want to play that game for myself! Sure, there may be some people who watch games rather than play them, but are those people even gamers?”

Nintendo was quick to release a statement on the issue: “As part of our ongoing push to ensure Nintendo content is shared across social media channels in an appropriate and safe way, we became a YouTube partner and as such in February 2013 we registered our copyright content in the YouTube database. For most fan videos this will not result in any changes, however, for those videos featuring Nintendo-owned content, such as images or audio of a certain length, adverts will now appear at the beginning, next to or at the end of the clips. We continually want our fans to enjoy sharing Nintendo content on YouTube, and that is why, unlike other entertainment companies, we have chosen not to block people from using our intellectual property.”

What most people, even YouTubers don’t realize, is that any video game publisher or developer can have their content blocked on YouTube. What’s really amazing is that the majority of companies don’t, and almost none of them try to take money from the Youtubers using their content. Think about that for a second, a company like Activision could want a piece of that YouTube pie, and yet they aren’t taking it. Meanwhile, Nintendo of all companies, is taking money YouTubers are trying to earn.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in the camp that thinks Nintendo shouldn’t get anything from the deal. In fact, I think they should get half. I think half is fair, considering people are putting videos up helping other Nintendo players beat games or learn about games they could possibly buy. That’s marketing in my book, and Nintendo could just take a small part and consider the YouTubers freelance workers.

Instead, Nintendo wants every cent, and that’s what they’re getting. So now, YouTubers are ready to stop posting Nintendo videos. Across forums and message boards, people are arguing over who’s right and who’s wrong. Should the player get the money from playing a game and posting it, or should the people who created the game get the money?

What’s really interesting to me is, what happens when the other companies decide they want to go this same route? We could see a huge change in what goes on YouTube, and the YouTube bubble of making money via video games videos could burst. There are plenty of people who make a living off of YouTube, and are weary of what Nintendo could be starting by doing this.

It’s an interesting time to be a YouTuber, and for those looking to get in on the YouTube gaming scene, right now is a time to pay attention before you start posting.