Nintendo Officially Shuts Down Creators Program: Why Was It So Controversial?


Nintendo is throwing the towel on its controversial "Creators" program unveiled back in 2015, a schtick that helped the company maintain a tighter grip on its gaming content and how it's shared on various platforms.

Perhaps what triggered Nintendo to launch such a program in the first place was the then-emerging popularity of "Let's Play" videos, in which people record themselves playing while giving commentary and reactions during their playthrough.

Nintendo Ends Creators Program

Now, Nintendo has officially announced that the program will close at the end of this year, while also promising to "[make] it easier for creative fans to show their love for Nintendo and monetize videos that include Nintendo game content."

New Guidelines

What that means isn't exactly certain. Nintendo has published a new set of guidelines for people who intend to produce videos anchored on its games moving forward, and these rules, most notably, more closely match the approach of rivals Sony and Microsoft.

To be sure, Nintendo will remain just as bullish when it comes to unfair distribution of its properties — the company specifically said it still can and will take down videos that it believes violate these guidelines. However, content creators are now free to post their Let's Play videos on various platforms. With one big caveat.

Nintendo will only allow these creators to post videos of its games if they add "creative input and commentary" while playing. That means "raw" videos of games without any accompanying reaction or thoughtful voiceover will immediately be shunned. This could be quite problematic for some people because others prefer Let's Play videos without any sort of extra input from the player, just the game itself.

Additionally, Nintendo won't allow videos of pirated games, or games that have yet to be released.

"We are humbled every day by your loyalty and passion for Nintendo's games, characters and worlds, and respect that you want to be able to express yourself creatively by sharing your own original videos and images using content from our games," the company states in its guidelines.

"As long as you follow some basic rules, we will not object to your use of gameplay footage and/or screenshots captured from games for which Nintendo owns the copyright ("Nintendo Game Content") in the content you create for appropriate video and image sharing sites."

Why Was The Nintendo Creators Program So Controversial?

What made the program so controversial was that it granted registered users only 60 percent of the advertising revenue for videos containing content from Nintendo games. The system also worked with a second agreement with YouTube, where videos featuring a certain amount of Nintendo content could get flagged. As a recourse, creators could keep their video live by adding Nintendo advertisements, with the revenue split between Nintendo and YouTube.

The program unsurprisingly drew harsh criticism from the creator community, with the rules on monetization being deemed too harsh and restrictive. Worse yet, Nintendo later restricted livestreaming of its games as well, even for those who were part of the program.

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