As a YouTube video creator (original content only) and hobby game designer (No fangames) I understand BOTH sides of the debatte and I’d like to share my thoughts on this.
First I’d like to start with technicalities that DO NOT refelect my views:
- As copyright holder Nintendo has every right to do with their stuff whatever the fuck they want
- As player you are privileged to play a game somebody made for your enjoyment
- When you pay for a game, it is not YOURS – it still belongs to the creator, you just have the right to play it since you paid for that right (this will be important later)
- Per copyright you are not allowed to use any part of the game for your personal profit
Now with that being said, here are my sixteen dollars and seven cents for this topic:
Lets Play videos are a nice but ultimately redundant thing. It is like watching a football game on TV, really, where somebody else plays a game for your enjoyment. Entertaining? Of course! Redundant? Absolutely. Personally I watch A LOT of StarCraft II replays simply because I want to learn from the best. ESports are a new thing and will grow tremendously in the newxt few years, beyond the borders of conventional gaming. Unfortunately the entire discussion concentrates on lets play videos here and NOT on the real topic at hand.
You see, once you realize where Nintendo is going with this you see how far the impacts are. Smooth McGroove is a fantastic musician and his videos will be monetized by Nintendo as well since he acapella remixes Nintendo music. It is his own work and his own creation but he gets snabbed because he is a Nintendo fan. Stemage does this fantastic thing called Metroid Metal and he too will see the result of this. In both of these cases nothing happened yet, but it eventually will.
Because such is the nature of big companies. Those decisions are not made by the people that create the games, the people that write the music or even Iwata who is the standup guy for the desicions. Those decisions are made by a legal department, men in suits that never played a game and couldn’t care less. And that is the entire problem.
Warner Brothers got rightfully sued by the creators of Nyan Cat for using Nyan Cat in Scribblenauts without asking. Yet the very same company, Warner Brothers, is a huge driving force behind suing other people for THEIR copyright, want to enact PIPA and SOPA and are all for control over the internet.
Now this relates to this topic. You see there are A LOT of people who upload soundtracks, cutscenes and other things from games to YouTube. The problem here lies within the fact that those people did nothing but just upload other peoples work and get paid for it, if monetizing is available. And this is where the idea originated: Nintendo wanted people not to get money for their work. Harmless enough.
But the problem lies deeper: Lets players who ultimately invest tons of hours into a game and even some time and work into a GOOD lets play get snubbed over. Remixers and re-creators that do homages and sometimes even completely self made things get the boot because they use things owned by Nintendo. It has been like that for movies since years, and now Nintendo was the first to do the same thing. I have a video on my channel, 100% self made stuff that was blocked for monetizing because a scene in it LOOKED SIMILAR to a scene from a movie and thus they believed that scene could be from that movie and they shut of monetizing.
Now the main question is, should you be able to get money from something you did not create yourself and if you did create it yourself in parts, how far does that effect the monetizing of your work in contrast to Nintendos work?
I go back to Smooth McGroove since he is a great guy. As said, he created acapella music of videogame tunes. He does it all himself, he uses famous melodies. Similar to what Nick Pitera does, really. So he has 100% of the work, except for that fact that he uses tunes by other people.
Companies, especially Nintendo, want to keep their franchises safe above all else. They dont want people to use their stuff because its about branding. They shut down a porn parody of super Mario because Mario does not do porn. Nobody cared that the movie was bad and a parody, it was shut down. Because branding matters.
Since you dont own the game you bought (see, i told you that gets important) you are only allowed to play it. You are not allowed to do anything else with it. And if your penis doesn’t fit into the disc hole (poor you if it does) what else can you do with a game anyways? Record it of course. But you are not allowed to since technically its not your game.
So how can we fix this? Not really. It’s up to the companies to think about that. Nintendo wants you to use their service for their stuff. That is the sole reason Sony created the share button for the PS4. Not to make life easier for you, but to control where you uplaod your lets plays. Or do you think Sony will pay you for uploading something to their station?
Here are a few things Nintendo COULD do:
- Split monetizing: Have a standard deal contractually setteled for everyone who has original work with Nintendo content. They did that with Twilight Symphony. They check if your work is okay by their rules and if it is they split the money you/they get from the video. Probably not going to happen since it is a long and expensive process.
- Monetize only for 1:1 content: Just monetize things that are unchanged like soundtrack videos or cutscenes. Probably not going to happen due to manpower being involved
- Establish new rules for monetizing: By establishing new rules, they could easily agree that Lets Players, reviewers and the likes may use their stuff. Very likely since this is what needs to happen anyway. If you do a video review or a lets play or a remix of one of their tunes, Nintendo does not monetize since you created this to support them and their games. This can easily be done with a simple checkbox or tag.
There are of course other things that could be done but for now we have to live with the fact that other companies WILL follow suit. Nintendo was the first to do so and will not be the last so get ready for this discussion to go on.