Hi, my name's Lewis - and I'm fairly new to this blogging thing, so be gentle. I've been a fan of both video games and writing since I was a kid, so this isn't all new to me - but is the first real time people I don't know will see what I have to say, scary as that is. I'm a big fan of RPGs, platformers, shooters.... anything goes really. Except sports. Then I'm truly lost.
I hope you enjoy reading my blog, and feedback is appreciated!
So, earlier today, it was revealed that Nintendo has been using Youtube's Content ID system to claim advertising revenue for all videos 10 minutes and over of their recent games. By the time I got to the comments section of the Dtoid article on this story, things were already heavily against Nintendo. But, while I'm not exactly happy Nintendo has done this either, I totally understand.
What irked me was Jim's note in the article:
"[font='Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]By being so selective, it's almost as though Nintendo feels threatened that people would watch these then decide they don't need to buy the game anymore. Non-interactive footage is hardly a valid substitute for hands-on play, so any suggestion to the contrary is absurd."[/font]
Well, here's my suggestion to the contrary.
Here is Youtube's monetisation policy. And you can't pretend it's not very clear. Whilst many publishers will leave you alone, if you don't have express permission to publish gameplay footage from them, they will always have the option to take down your videos. Many people have argued, "Why would publishers want to take down or limit Let's Plays? They're free marketing!". Well, they kinda are and they kinda aren't. Or perhaps a better way of putting it is, they are...up to a point. When someone uploads all the content of a game in video form, if a person watches all of it, what motivation do they now have to purchase a game. Many will say more, but I think that's frankly bullshit. Trailers and short clips make you want a videogame. When you have seen all the content a game has to offer, often with funny commentary, what motivation do you really think people will have to go buy the game for themselves? Now, part of this is going to depend on the re-playability of the game. A game such a s Fire Emblem, for instance, can be replayed many times, with different support options, characters used and difficulty levels. But, say you watched a full gameplay series of Luigi's Mansion 2? I doubt you would feel much of an urge to try it out yourself.
As an example, I'm on a mad Final Fantasy binge this year, and recently did a replay of Final Fantasy XIII (don't even start hating in the comments if you are planning to, I'm too tired to defend that game) to see if it was a bit better or worse than I remember it (but just for the record, it was better). About halfway through, I accidentally missed a cutscene. It actually seemed pretty important, so I took to YouTube to find it. I was pretty surprised at the channels I found. Firstly, you have videos such as this one - full silent, playthroughs of videogames. Note how all of this series has at least 100,000 views. If you are telling me all of these people watching halfway through a 20+ hour game are planning to purchase it? While a few of the views may convert into sales I doubt it's worth it for any publisher. If you check out the (monetized) channel this video comes from you'll see exactly the kind of stuff that puts publishers such as Nintendo off Youtube. Here's the description for the channel:
"Subscribe to stay updated with the the latest game walkthroughs & Trailers !
1-Best HD quality in YT
3-No annoying Commentary
4-Fastest uploads in YT
5-Short walkthroughs (no deaths/time wasted)
6-I never play on Easy mode
My walkthroughs are way shorter than other youtubers ( I never rush through games) many Youtubers do die a lot or drag their walkthroughs so they can get more views, I will never do that, if you value your time you will Love, HHGaming :)"
Notice how that sounded like a business pitch? If anyone believes that the target audience for this channel is not people who either don't have the time or money to play a videogame, so watch it instead, I'd be interested to hear why.
I think as Youtube gets bigger and bigger, more publishers are going to be doing exactly what Nintendo is doing. And I can't fault any of them. Despite being a huge fan of them, this isn't even Nintendo bias. If EA (who I know everyone loves to hate), Activision, Ubisoft, anyone did this, I wouldn't blame them. These kinds of videos just aren't good for game sales.
LP'ing takes reasonable effort. You have to record commentary, and keep it entertaining and fluent. But it's still reliant on content that the LP'er didn't make, unless they gained express permission to do so.When you straight up record gameplay and post it, silent, on a monetized channel, you are entirely, no question, profiting on content that you did not create with no effort taken to make it unique.
People often enjoy jumping to hate on publishers, but contrary to popular belief they don't contain offices full of morons. This kind of decision will have come with a comparison of if the free marketing is worth it, or if Nintendo feels they are losing customers. And if Nintendo feels they are losing customers, well, they likely are - and they have every right to claim advertising revenue on games they created.
If you have a comment or counter-argument, please feel free to leave it - I'd love to discuss this. I hope, though, that this post might calm the storms of hate that seem to be going against Nintendo at this point - since this isn't a problem they created, it's a problem they have had to fix.