YouTuber calls foul play on Nintendo's ad revenue crackdown
Published Tuesday, April 7, 2015 9:53AM EDT
Video game walkthroughs can make big money on YouTube, and now, gaming giant Nintendo wants a cut of that money from YouTube's most popular gamers.
Nintendo recently altered its policies to demand YouTubers fork over 40 per cent of their advertising revenue from videos made using Nintendo products.
The move is part of an attempt to crack down on a growing trend in gaming, which involves viewers tuning in to see others play video games on YouTube and the streaming site Twitch. Millions of users watch gaming videos every day on YouTube, and those videos generate big dollars for the YouTubers who create them.
Mississauga, Ont.-based Nic Truong says he stands to lose a hefty chunk of the revenue he makes off his YouTube channel under Nintendo's new policy. Truong started making YouTube videos under the alias "Tetra Ninja" in 2010, and he now makes his living on YouTube by showing others how to play.
"It's a full-time job," Truong told CTV's Canada AM on Tuesday. He says he's concerned that Nintendo wants to take a cut of his profits, but that won't stop him from making Nintendo videos for his approximately 850,000 YouTube subscribers.
"It's a video game company that represents the entire industry," Truong said. That means he can't turn his back on the company's many popular marquee brands, including Mario, the Legend of Zelda, and Pokemon.
"I thoroughly love those franchises and I will continue to play them," he said.
Truong says Nintendo has "bounced back and forth" for years on how to address the YouTube video game trend. He says the company tried to ban all Nintendo-linked videos in 2013, but backpedalled after the YouTube community rose up in protest.
Now, he says, Nintendo is trying a more moderate approach by demanding a cut of YouTubers' profits from videos featuring its games.
Truong called Nintendo's recent move an "adaptation" of its attempted 2013 crackdown.
He says most video game publishers encourage YouTubers to share their gaming experiences, and Nintendo is the only publisher trying to control it.
Truong says most video game publishers treat him well, flying him and other YouTubers to fully paid-for preview events and allowing him to bring home advanced game footage to post before games are released to the public.
"A lot of video game publishers have realized that YouTubers are a very good marketing source because they have these enormous fan bases," Truong said.
"It's just a great marketing tool, and Nintendo hasn't really been up to the times."
YouTube's most popular individual channel belongs to a Swedish video gamer named Felix Kjellberg, a.k.a. "PewDiePie." Kjellberg has 35.8 million YouTube subscribers, 5.73 million Twitter followers and his videos have been viewed more than 8.38 billion times.
Kjellberg also has about 20 million more YouTube followers than top musical acts like Rihanna, One Direction, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.
PewDiePie's most recent video shows him playing Nintendo's Super Mario 64 with a friend. The video, which was posted on Monday, already had 1.3 million views by Tuesday morning.
Last month, PlayStation 4 sales accounted for 49.1 per cent of the video game console market, followed by Microsoft's Xbox at 28.4 per cent and Nintendo's WiiU at 22.5 per cent.
However, Nintendo's 3DS system remains the top seller in the video game handheld category.