Why Nintendo’s YouTube affiliate program won’t work

So Nintendo has had an interesting relationship with the internet as of late. There was the whole Super Smash/Evo fiasco last year where they didn’t want Super Smash Brothers Brawl to be streamed at the biggest fighting game competition of the year. Then there was the news that Super Smash Brothers 4 won’t have any cut scenes because they know they’ll just end up online anyways. Then there was last December when Nintendo started to claim copyright infringement on a bunch of Let’s Plays of their games on YouTube which brings me to this.

Nintendo announced a partnership program that will split the ad revenue on videos that use their games. Sure, that sounds like a great idea and a decent compromise on the surface.

I’m here to tell you it isn’t. Let’s get some things straight here, there are companies that make their living off of YouTube ad revenue. Many video games sites that you frequent do and if that’s not their main source of income, it’s one of them. Would it really be smart of a site such as Polygon, IGN or Giant Bomb, whomever to join to his affiliate program? To go 50/50 on ad revenue with a company that they are supposed to be objective on? Does anyone see something wrong with this? Who says they won’t give a game a more favorable review just to keep getting that ad revenue? Who says Nintendo doesn’t pull them from the affiliate program if they say negative things about the Wii U? It opens an enormous can of worms that something such as the video game industry doesn’t need. An industry which is sadly based on reviews and reviews scores, it’s the metacritic world that we live in. While yes, for most people who just do Let’s Plays this will be fine and most will be thrilled to keep getting money for this videos. For the more professional side of the business, this is just unacceptable. Sure, Nintendo thinks they are doing something good, throwing people a bone.

What they should do, is let people keep 100% of the ad revenue because, it’s not their product. Sure their game is being played but people aren’t watching because of that. They are watching because a certain personalty is talking over it, or because a certain outlet is reviewing it. Then again, Nintendo is out of touch with the internet community and expecting more from them is silly and it makes me sad.