Nintendo Taking New Approach To Let’s Play Videos

The iconic video game developer is up to some scrupulous tactics concerning any videos of their games uploaded to YouTube.

Yesterday, Nintendo revealed their new plan for gamers posting Let’s Play videos of Nintendo games on YouTube, but their plan has upset quite a few people. What they’re doing is simply taking any ad revenue generated by such videos, leaving anyone who makes Let’s Play videos for a living in a slightly dire situation. The news was confirmed to GameFront by Nintendo in a statement as well as by ZackScottGames on YouTube.

Mr. Scott found one of his popular Nintendo Let’s Play had been hit by the new status quo and took to YouTube and his Facebook page to express his views on Nintendo’s newest plan.

“I am a gamer/LPer at, and I can confirm that Nintendo is now claiming ownership of gameplay videos. This action is done via YouTube’s Content ID system, and it causes an affected video’s advertising revenue to go to Nintendo rather than the video creator. As of now, they have only gone after my most recent Super Mario 3D Land videos, but a few other popular YouTubers have experienced this as well.”

“I think filing claims against LPers 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!”

“Since I started my gaming channel, I’ve played a lot of games. I love Nintendo, so I’ve included their games in my line-up. But until their claims are straightened out, I won’t be playing their games. I won’t because it jeopardizes my channel’s copyright standing and the livelihood of all LPers.”

In order to carry out this mission, Nintendo became a YouTube content partner earlier this year and are taking advantage of the ContentID program provided by YouTube. The program matches video and audio from a video against a database of copyrighted material provided by Nintendo. Using this they can identify videos that contain content from their games and act accordingly.


Obviously there is some fuss from the community as well as video creators themselves over whether or not Nintendo should be doing this at all. Whilst Nintendo are just trying to protect their own property and make sure that any videos shared over social media are done so appropriately. Effectively they are policing exactly what gets uploaded and taking profit for whatever does.

Nintendo supplied Game Informer with a short statement explaining their actions.

“As part of our on-going 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 using our intellectual property.

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It’s controversial, but on the surface it doesn’t look like Nintendo is doing anything wrong, although it certainly feels like they are. Many people are throwing around copyright law in their arguments, but since Nintendo are using YouTube policies in order to place their claim on these videos, and those policies aren’t subject to national copyright laws.

Perhaps this is just early days of a larger plan and whilst we’re reacting badly now, there might be a brighter future in the works for Nintendo and YouTube. In the meantime, they may be alienating their audience and as a result, various Let’s Players are expected to stop featuring Nintendo games in their line-up entirely.

Could this new YouTube policy have a dire effect on Nintendo sales? Will it shake up the face of the Let’s Play community forever? There’s a lot to be answered still, but what do you think?

You might know Liam as the host of the XPGrind podcast and video series. Liam's a freelance writer who posts news for SegmentNext as well as recording, editing and publishing podcasts and video.