Nintendo Claims Financial Ownership of Mario Let’s Plays

Nintendo is claiming the ad revenue for youtube Let's Play videos of its most recent Mario games, but hey! At least they aren't taking them down when they can profit from them!

Youtube has given rise to several entirely new forms of entertainment.  Particular to video games has been the creation of Let’s Play videos, wherein a person records themself playing through a game while also recording their commentary.  As someone who does not enjoy watching most video games being played by someone else, the addition of commentary from the right person or people can make a huge difference.

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Regarding these Let’s Play videos, Nintendo has some good news and some bad news.

The Bad News

Let’s Play video makers are noticing a lack of ad revenue from some of their videos featuring Nintendo games, most notably the most recent Mario games.  Nintendo has been claiming the advertising revenue of the games, preventing the people making the videos from receiving it themselves.

The Good News

They aren’t taking the videos down entirely like Sega has been!  No really.  That’s the good news.

In support of Nintendo, the legal system has proven in the past that a company is quite capable of winning the right to have videos removed entirely when they show as much content as Let’s Plays do by their very nature.  Many people do watch these videos instead of buying or playing the games featured in them.  They get the story and basics of gameplay they would otherwise need to at least rent the product to experience.

On the other hand, not as many people watch Let’s Plays instead of buying the games in them as most corporate heads might want courts to believe.  More pertinent to this specific situation is the specific choice Nintendo has made and the implications it has.

Removing fan-made content is one thing.  It is not a popular decision for a company to make, but neither is it a surprising one.  Profiting off of it?  That takes a special variety of entitlement.

Saying a Let’s Play is entertaining because of the game being played is probably true in the case of the more poorly-made videos, but the main point of them is actually the commentary.  Most of the genuinely interesting Let’s Play videos can actually have the commentary removed and be more enjoyable to listen to than the game is to watch.  That is a very important distinction.

I apologize to the fantastic creators and personalities who are not receiving the monetary credit for their work.  Nintendo?  If you want to profit from their work?  Hire them to do the videos specifically for you.  Profiting off their efforts is tasteless, and doing it after they have already been making money off of it is legal theft.  You don’t want them profiting from your creative efforts, at least recognize how hypocritical it is to profit from theirs.


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Wokendreamer
Writer, gamer, and generally hopeful beneath a veneer of cynicism.