The Nintendo Creators Program Is Shutting Down, But Questions Remain

Back in 2015, Nintendo unveiled an affiliate program for content creators that was designed to let players earn advertising revenue on any videos containing Nintendo-related content.

The plan was that Nintendo would take 40% of ad revenue from individual videos and 30% from channels registered with the program. Unsurprisingly, it was almost universally panned. But the program, which also barred members of the program from livestreaming on YouTube, will come to a close in December.

In a three paragraph post on the Nintendo Creators Program page, Nintendo announced that the program was being shut down to "make it easier for content creators to make and monetise videos". The program will officially shut down at the end of this year, with the NCP site itself being taken offline from March 20, 2019.

"We will no longer ask creators to submit their videos to the NCP, and creators can continue showing their passion for Nintendo by following Nintendo’s guidelines," the corporation says.

The official guidelines, which have been updated as of today, approve of the following "monetisation methods":

  • Facebook - Facebook Gaming Creators, Facebook Level Up Program;
  • Niconico Douga/Niconico Live - Niconico Creators Program, Niconico Channel;
  • OPENREC.tv - OPENREC Creators Program;
  • Twitch - Twitch Affiliate Program and Twitch Partner Program;
  • Twitter - Amplify Publisher Program; and
  • YouTube - YouTube Partner Program.

Curiously, those guidelines state that hosting tournaments "is a separate activity that is outside of the scope of the Guidelines", which could be a problem for third-party organisations looking to cover Smash Ultimate when it drops on December 7.

The guidelines also say that users are not allowed to upload images or videos "of Nintendo Game Content without creative input or commentary". It says gameplay shots and screeners posted using the Nintendo Switch's capture button or record functionality are fine. But given that the guidelines affect uploaded videos as well as livestreams, it leaves a question over what that means for YouTube channels that prefer to upload footage without commentary - say, those doing Let's Plays of older SNES or NES games, considering the conditions say Let's Plays are "within the scope" of the guidelines. Nintendo also states that the rules are only applicable to games from which Nintendo owns the content - so games on the Switch that aren't first-party Nintendo releases would be fine - though.

Nintendo's full guidelines can be read here. I've emailed Nintendo for comment asking for clarification on videos without commentary, and the protocol around hosting tournaments, but hadn't heard back at the time of writing.


Comments

    Oh look, Nintendo being regressive and stupid again!!

      By getting rid of the program?

        Nintendo introduces the programme:

        "Nintendo's being regressive and stupid!"

        Nintendo gets rid of the programme:

        "Nintendo's being regressive and stupid!"

          It actually takes it one step better than just removing the program if you read into it more.

          It basically just means ninty is now in line with every publisher out there when it comes to videos ie. as long as it follows the platform of choices TOS and its fair use go upload and monetise away.

            Any video that is covered by fair use (or Australia's fair dealing) doesn't really need to care about Nintendo's guidelines, since there is no need for authorisation.

            With that said, many let's play style videos probably aren't covered by fair use: even ones with commentary. If people are watching the video as a substitute for playing the game, then the video is probably not fair use. This also means that the genre of the game can affect whether a video is fair use or not: not just the length.

            Nintendo's statement essentially makes this point moot: if your let's play video contains commentary or other unique elements, then it doesn't matter whether you're covered by fair use or not. You can post the video either way.

      Lol... you need to work on your internet sarcasm more =P

      I actually worked for Japanese company.

      They can be incredibly frustrating to deal with. BUT, they do change its just slow.

      Personally, I look at the WiiU which had no/little third party games, and now the have opened up the switch and its doing great.

      They could simply be ending this program and doing what ever other developer does, i.e. only strike a channel if they do something really bad.

      I guess time will tell

    I wonder how profitable the program was for Nintendo? Given that they wanted to pre-approve all videos, I'd imagine the administration would have eaten into a lot of the potential profits for videos from small channels. And the larger channels would probably be in a position to negotiate a better deal outside of the program (e.g. I doubt IGN was giving up 30% of their revenue on Nintendo related videos).

      I'd assume its also much much easier/convenient to get the normal cut of monetisation from youtube, twitch, etc.

      You let folks do the videos and money comes your way with no effort. I assume it was really more of a control thing for ninty so thst videos gave the "right" message

    @alexwalker ummm... I thought the first question on the faq pretty much said that lets plays and reviews are within the scope of acceptable?

    "We encourage you to use Nintendo Game Content in videos and images that feature your creative input and commentary. For example, Let's Play videos and video game reviews are within the scope of the Guidelines.
    However, you may not simply upload or livestream an existing Nintendo video, gameplay footage without your own creative input, or a copy of content created by someone else. "

    Pretty much says to me any first party ninty stuff is now fair game on youtube and twitch as long as you are actively doing some input or commentary... which is whats expected minimum on lets plays and streams anyway to not be flagged.

      I did mention that in the story:

      But given that the guidelines affect uploaded videos as well as livestreams, it leaves a question over what that means for YouTube channels that prefer to upload footage without commentary - say, those doing Let's Plays of older SNES or NES games, considering the conditions say Let's Plays are "within the scope" of the guidelines. Nintendo also states that the rules are only applicable to games from which Nintendo owns the content - so games on the Switch that aren't first-party Nintendo releases would be fine - though.

        Ah... thats a my bad i misresd it a bit and it seemed like it said lets plays were not included in new policy.

        That being said Lets Plays without commentary have pretty much been on rocky soil in terms of fair use or not for ages now havent they? Most people ecoect some sorta commentary or voice overs for most lets plays now a days...

          The wording "gameplay footage without your own creative input" is nice and vague. I would consider that my Splatoon recordings that I put up (without commentary) include my creative input, as the focus of the video is how I play the game. Whereas if I put up someone else's recordings, then I have no input? Not that I monetise anyway so I'm sure it's irrelevant anyway. Although then if I recorded and hosted footage on behalf of a friend who doesn't have the capability... hm.

    They’ll just use it as an excuse to start litigating their fans for doing live streams.

      Ermm.. how so? The guidelines pretty much says as long as your doing voice overs or something (and your sticking to the tos of the service ie. Twitch guidelines or Youtube tos) which is what most twitch casters do anyway its all fair game for monetisation now..

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