Over the last five years, online video streaming has changed a lot about how players find and share videogames, making such an impact on the games industry that Sony has announced it will be adding a dedicated “share” button to its upcoming DualShock 4 controller to make it easier for players to share game footage online.

Unfortunately, it seems that Nintendo is going down quite a different path, with several YouTubers recently reporting much of their Nintendo-related content tagged with a Content ID match.

So, what is a Content ID match, and how is this going to affect those in the games industry who make a living from Nintendo-related content? We reached out to Josh Jepson, a Nintendo-focused YouTuber with more than 100,000 subscribers, to find out.

Josh: When a Youtube video gets Content-ID matched, the ad revenue earned from the video goes to the company that owns the copyright. Now, the issue here is, gameplay videos have always been a grey area in terms of copyright. It’s not considered fair use and any game company can say “hey, you can’t do that” and start sapping that video for ad revenue.

Nintendo does have the legal right to its copyrighted content, of course. From a purely legal perspective, Nintendo needs to protect their copyright to a degree and could run around sending cease-and-desist letters to children who draw fan art of Link if they liked. As you may have guessed, however, no game company actually does that because it would be terrible PR and would alienate their most dedicated supporters. The same supporters who, if left to their own devices, would love to spend their free time promoting Nintendo’s game library.

With that in mind, it seems strange to target YouTube’s Nintendo-loving content creators, who when combined promote Nintendo’s work to hundreds of thousands of people a day. Especially when, as Josh reveals, it means that these content creators are forced to promote only non-Nintendo games if they wish to maintain their livelihood.

Josh: It definitely could cripple my channel and many others in the near future. By doing this, Nintendo is basically telling some of its biggest fans that it doesn’t want them to support Nintendo anymore. Sure this doesn’t go for every person who uploads Nintendo content to Youtube, most will likely not be affected. But those that do get affected are some of the biggest supporters of Nintendo games. The people that convince tens of thousands that Nintendo makes games that are fun to play.

With Nintendo’s main competitors such as Sony going out of their way to provide people with easy access to player-made online content in the next console cycle, we can only hope that Nintendo can come to an agreement with its online fans that will work out for both parties involved.

In response to criticism of its new policy, Nintendo issued this official statement to Gamefront on the matter:

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.

– Nintendo

Edit: To clear up some discussion regarding Content ID, most Let’s Players and others that use game footage are licensed to put ads on their videos through companies such as TGS and Machinima, which handle the legal issues. This is not an issue of Nintendo suddenly noticing LPers (they’ve worked officially with them in the past) but of Nintendo changing their policy.

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  • Robert

    What is that certain length of content/audio going to be?

    • Akhaten

      the whole video or audio clip (eg cutscene or song) minus somewhere around a sixth is what things like this usually sit at

  • Sooo… this means that people like Josh, Chuggaconroy, Protronjon, Nintendocaprisun and UnoriginallyChrisLPs can still do let's plays and walkthrough with the only difference being advertisements now being at the beginning and ending of videos? Is that all? it doesn't seem that bad.

    • CodyDavies

      Game reviewers and Let's Players and other YouTubers already have ads up and a licensing partnership that takes a cut to handle the legal side of things. The ad revenue on Nintendo videos will now all go to Nintendo, meaning these people will have to choose other content to maintain a living.

    • Hombre de Mundo

      If there are no ads on the videos, yes. But if there are ads, the profit of those ads go to Nintendo rather than the channel owners. Many people, like the ones you've listed makes their living off of being a full time LPer and so what this does is essentially cut their income.

    • Dusk

      I agree, if that's all they are doing it's not as bad as I initially thought

    • anonymoose

      you sound like someone who has adblock on…because ads at the beginning/end of videos has been happening for those channels since forever ago when they could monetize their channels.

      what's going on now is that Nintendo is taking all that ad revenue they'd be making for themselves. this means that chugga and the others need to play non-nintendo games if they want to keep making money.

  • Jarmihi

    "As part of our on-going push to ensure Nintendo content is shared across social media channels in an appropriate and safe way … adverts will now appear at the beginning, next to or at the end of the clips."

    Something doesn't add up there.

  • Andrew

    Not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I can still continue making my 3D animated Zelda movie! 😀

  • Evergreen

    Thats Just Dumb Nintendo Come On When They Play You Make Money Because When They See People Play That Game They Go out To Find That Same Game To Play So They making Money By Them People Lets Playing That!

    • sIR cAPS

      mISTER cAPS, wE mEET aGAIN!

      • anonymou2

        hey ii diidn't know that you guy2 liiked niintendo two

        • mcdude910


    • First of all, did Pac-Man eat all the caps in all that sentence? And, secondly, How Do You Have The Patience To Type That Post With All Those Unnecessary Caps?

  • Brandon

    I'm giving it a couple years before Nintendo becomes history. They're going to end up just like Sega and the only consoles we'll be looking to buy will be the new Xbox and the new Playstation.

    • MikeL

      Yeah right, it's far more likely that Sony goes bankrupt and Microsoft decides to cut their losses and drop out of the video game market before that happens.

  • gluxbox

    No offense to these YouTube channels who are going to be feeling the effects of this Content ID issue, but it's not Nintendo's problem if you are going to lose money. I'm sorry, but posting videos of gameplay is NOT a real job and shouldn't be your sole source of income. I post videos and screenshots of Nintendo games that I play, but I'm not trying to make money off of it. If you are trying to earn money by posting Nintendo's property, without Nintendo's permission, then you are stealing!

    • CodyDavies

      Nintendo has worked with LPers officially in the past and gaming YouTubers go through companies such as Machinima and TGS who take a cut to deal with the legal parts of putting ads on videos, making them officiallly licensed.

      And there's no such thing as a "real job". Their job isn't "fake" just because it isn't in an office. Entertainment is an industry made up of people with "real jobs".

      • JonahTHD

        I agree with the second paragraph, by what I get from gluxbox's definition of a "real Job", reviewers from sites like gamespot or IGN or whatnot aren't "real jobs", people who make walkthroughs, whether by video or text, also isn't a "real job". As far as I'm concerned, if it makes you money, it's a job.

        • Kalek

          What about stealing? xD

          But seriously, I agree with you.

    • anonymoose

      and just who the hell are you to dictate what a "real job" is?

  • Riekelt

    This only shows that people Let’s play for money.

    • Riekelt

      Edit: I'm talking about now. When everyone first started LP-ing, they had no vision of earning money with it. But with this… Money changes people

      • Rinkusan

        Do you seriously think you can be a Let's Player and have another profession ? Come on, get serious, this is a full time job if you want to do it right ! There is no way in hell you can Record, Design, Cut, Edit and Upload high quality content if you only have 3 hours after work,… I understand your argument but if you just record for 30 minutes, cut it down to ten and then upload it theres no way you will get the same kind of recognition as full time LP'ers. Done

    • greenyxi

      I can assure you that not every LPer does it for money. I don't even earn any money from it, 'cause I don't want ads on my videos like this!

  • Seems a little two-faced, considering Nintendo was supporting the Runaway Guys only just a few months back. In fact, Nintendo asked them to make a video of Coin Rush mode in NSMB2.
    I mean, if they’re going to do this, then fine, but they didn’t have to get people’s hopes up by getting all chummy with certain LP’ers out there, just to pull the rug out from under their feet.

  • Edvard C

    It seems strange to me that so many different companies are resorting to these kind of backhanded tactics to maintain their level of income. Nintendo has been such a PR company…why would they go back on that? It might be because their Wii U was not as successful as they had intended…but honestly, how hard would it be to sell a cheep usage-license to YouTubers and let them go on with their shows? That way, they get their cut, but they don't destroy their interest base on the web.
    And another thing. It wouldn't be so hard to keep collaborating with those people that are interested in doing so. …what a wonderful idea…big industry people helping little industry people.

  • Zeldafan99

    One reason that I always liked nintendo was because it wasn't cheap (the bad way), or selfish. Now it seems like that's changing…

  • mo

    Seems fair. Those video’s full of Nintendo games that already have ads are making money, surely a cut should go to Nintendo and less to YouTube and unfortunately the uploader.

  • kaepora21

    The problem I see here is ownership of content. While Nintendo does own the game, depending on the purpose of the video, an uploader could also be considered a part "owner" in the content of whatever is being published. Say, for example, Red vs. Blue. There Rooster Teeth created an entirely new work of intellectual property with the use of the Halo game series. While Microsoft owns the game, does it necessarily own Red vs. Blue? Of course not, Microsoft didn't create it, Rooster Teeth did. To give Microsoft ownership over that series is a akin to giving a paper mill the rights of ownership to the works of Shakespeare.

    Video games are content, yes, but they are also an important medium for new content. I have many problems with this chiefly because Nintendo seems to be trying to edge an ownership claim to some of these videos for which it does not have full rights.

    Watch out Nintendo. I'm a lawyer,* so what I say is gold, and you should totally listen to me.**

    * I actually am a lawyer
    ** I don't really know anything, and for your own benefit you should never actually listen to me

  • kkk

    It's longer than 10 and you won't.
    It's just saying that IF you upload videos longer in length than 10 minutes Nintendo will monetize the footage.

  • SpiralFire24

    so wait does that mean people like Josh, NCS, and Chuggaaconroy are not going to earn revenue from their let's plays or what?

    • Kalek

      I think those people will still make money from their "let's play" videos, the diference is, that now Nintendo will also get some part of the money, if the videos are longer than 10 minutes.

      (At least, that's what I understood from it)

      • battlepigeon

        No, Nintendo get full ad revenue. That means people like chuggaconroy et al that only do Nintendo LPs no longer et paid.


    Nintendo is basically banishing free advertising. I really hope they change their mind about this, or at least come to some sort of compromise.

  • lulles

    This makes sense. I mean, gameplay footage is just that, a video of their game. It's not like fan art where even though the characters are Nintendo's, the artist made the piece themselves. On the other hand, does Nintendo really need the money that those video makers would make?
    I'm glad Nintendo isn't forcing anyone to take their videos down!

  • darkgerudo

    While Nintendo has every right to do this to videos containing content published by Nintendo, and they have just as much of a right to demand that these videos be taken down, it does make them look like the bad guy.

    I guess this is what happens when you become super obsessed with having an image that’s friendly for everyone all of the time, instead of having some of their product being ideal for group x and another type of their product being good for group y.

  • Nintendo is not looking for revenue from the videos. It is adding commercials to them. If these guys are charging for their videos, though they are very lucky that Nintendo hasn’t insisted they remove them and sue them for copyright infringement. It is illegal to make money from copyrighted material that belongs to someone else. That is what has got Nintendo upset, copyright theft.

    • anonymoose

      "Nintendo is not looking for revenue from the videos"

      you do realize the ads on the videos are for the sole purpose of generating ad revenue for Nintendo….right? this is a rhetorical question btw.

      and there's nothing illegal about let's plays. Nintendo may own the game but they don't own the gameplay the LPer records/edits that changes with each let's play video made.

      • MikeL

        A prerequisite for that gameplay is the game itself, which is Nintendo's IP and it's therefore their prerogative to decide what others are allowed to do with it and under what circumstances. If you're dependent on other peoples IP to make money you're always at risk of ending up in a situation like this and that's something you have to accept at the moment you start the business and not bitch about it when it happens.
        This may all end up being a bad business decision by Nintendo but that doesn't change the fact that's completely within their rights to do it.

  • somebodyelse

    I wonder if Tim can get his donuts making job back?

  • Nick

    These kind of articles and comments are what are called OVERREACTIONS. Just because the title of the article says that it cracks down on its policy with youtube. Maybe read the article before you freak out? And to the author of this article- this was filled with so much ambiguous content, you haven't let us come to our own conclusions on what's going on, you're only instigating fear with negative words. News writing is supposed to be objective and you failed that. Finally, if you owned a company, would you just freely let people use your intellectual property, which for the most part is machinima making money off of your games? Nintendo isn't shutting down videos, or cutting their length, they're only making money from the ads that would've leeched the money from them anyway.

    • Nick

      sorry but my earlier comment was too long so i had to cut it up: Yes, I agree Nintendo has been acting awfully cheap lately, but maybe research would help calm you down? They've been making a lot of these changes so as not to cannibalize their own market, which they've been during for your expense, but now's the time to start rewarding themselves and I don't mind that at all. What's most important is that Nintendo's priorities are not your happiness, but your money, which is unfortunate, but without it they cannot survive and bring you their second priority, which is again your enjoyment. So can everyone just calm down please?

      • Nick

        And finally, I have a question. Have let's players always made money from just playing other people's videogames? I don't have any sympathy for that at all! Playing videogames is not a job, it's just for fun. I severely disagree with someone making money off of a game that was created for their entertainment! that's the last one sorrysorrysorry

  • Captain Nipples

    Solution…. ad block. ^_^

    • Austin

      not for the people who's source of income is promoting Nintendo on youtube

  • OrionX821

    The biggest issue i see is that while some people hate it, LPing is a job for a good many people now. If they dont get the ad revenue, they dont eat, they dont get to pay the bills, etc. What this would end up doing is effectively killing most Lets Players channels because they have to attempt to find jobs which is nearly impossible thanks to the economy No more Chugga, NCS or any of the people you watch on a regular basis because other companies will just take down your vids. Instead of being known for encouraging Let's Play's, Nintendo may have just killed them and made some people lose their homes.

    • randall

      oh no! people might actually have to get a job, instead of playing video games on Youtube for ad revenue? what? What kind of a world do we live in where people can't make money by just playing games and putting a video up online. Next thing you'll tell me that I can't watch a movie MST3k style and put that video online and make ad revenue off of it. Darn you copyright laws, darn you to heck!!!!

      • aNoN

        "Next thing you'll tell me that I can't watch a movie MST3k style and put that video online and make ad revenue off of it"

        only an idiot would use this faulty analogy.

        movies are the exact same every single time you watch them…Let's Plays are different with each video. I dare you to watch a ChuggaConroy video and an NCS video of the same game of the same level and tell me if the characters move in the exact same way and if the commentator is saying the exact same thing.

        please try to use your brain before you post….I said please

        • randall

          First off, I'm not going to insult you, and call you names, because I have facts to back me up. Second, your analogy is wrong, not mine. MST3k with different people commenting on a movie would be different each time a different group watched the movie. Clearly you misunderstood the correlation I was making, so sorry that you didn't understand the point that I was making.

          Second, my whole point was copyright law. You can watch a movie, you can watch a game, but you cannot profit from showing said movie or game to other people. The reason why Riff Trax(the former crew of MST3K) puts out just their commentary, and you have to provide the movie, is copyright law. The same reason why it's against the law to download a album off the internet, burn it to a disc, and then sell it to someone.

          I'm sorry if you, and all the YouTube Generation, think it's ok to profit off of other people's copyrights, but it is not. Nintendo could easily have taken down all the videos, but they did not, all they did was say they the income from the videos should be going to them not the Let's Play "Artists". Copyright Law.

          I know the Internet is a big place to download movies and music, and make your own videos, but the law is still the law. I say Kudos to Nintendo, and any Nintendo fan who doesn't understand that what they were doing was wrong and against the law, can find some other way to make money.

        • randall


  • Currently, much more is known about the game play. It has already been announced that the game will be released with the Wii and an alternate Gamecube version for the unfortunate people who can’t buy a Wii the day it comes out.