Nintendo Choking Let’s Players for Cash

Sprite StuYo, just a quick “my two cents on this abnormal news story” post.

Nintendo is filing a sort of copyright claim on any YouTube videos of a sufficient length that showcase footage from their games, particularly Let’s Play videos. Basically, they’re preventing any Let’s Players from making money via ad revenue off any of their games, and instead taking the money for themselves.

I feel more conflicted about this than I would have guessed. On the one hand, I really, really like watching Let’s Plays — I’m simultaneously proud and embarrassed to say that the majority of my time with my laptop is spent watching them. Sometimes even re-watching them. Who does that? Who watches total strangers play videogames, then watches those same strangers play those same games again. It’s madness, but it’s my madness, and I love it.

Anyway, on the other hand, Nintendo could be behaving much worse. They could ban the videos entirely, or ban the Let’s Players making the videos. Instead they’re just asking for a piece of the YouTube pie, and seeing as the footage wouldn’t exist without them it could be argued that they deserve any money that comes out of these videos.

Back on the one hand, though, many of these Let’s Players actually fund themselves from these videos (and the ads attached to them), so Nintendo is limiting and in some cases denying these people their income. So that’s scary.

Plus, I have yet to play Nintendo’s Skyward Sword because I planned to do a Let’s Play of it. Now I’m not so sure I want to bother. I didn’t expect to make any money off it, but I do feel frustrated with the company for hurting their fans, people who do make their money this way and are giving the company free advertising.

Oh well, I’m just ranting. I hope this issue is fixed for the better — and soon.


  1. Behold the power of social media! As you were uploading this post I was reading a similar article at via my twitter feed. The article refers to Let’s Plays as theatrical events, which is an interesting definition.

    I have been reading all morning that EA will not release any WiiU games this year, even though they stood on stage with Nintendo at last year’s E3 and promised support. (Worst Company in America 2014, EA?) Nintendo can’t seem to do anything right lately, and this bit of tone deafness doesn’t help them.

    1. Just read the whole thing. Should’ve put it in my post — I could still edit it in, but comments are gold. Besides, I just absolutely agree with the article; I have little to say.

  2. Never seen a lets play, but I do think Nintendo screwed up with this decision. It sounds like Mystery Science Theater, only in that you actually see the art form as it was intended, albeit with some shadow heads bobbing around and some commentary. In Lets Play you don’t see the art form as it was intended, you see it as a movie, a movie that drives you to want to buy the game. Bad pool ‘ol boy.

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