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 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.

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