In a dramatic, but no longer uncommon situation, famed YouTuber Angry Joe has officially stated that he is boycotting his coverage of Nintendo games. He will no longer be playing or reviewing Mario Kart, Mario Party, Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, or any future Nintendo releases for the discernible future. Why would Angry Joe, one of the most celebrated YouTubers with nearly 2 million subscribers, abandon one of the most popular game companies on the planet?
As had been announced back in January, Nintendo announced their desire to create the Nintendo Creators Program, a program designed around featuring YouTubers who play their games online. Those who wish to upload Nintendo content for entertainment purposes are not allowed to monetize this content unless they are part of the Nintendo Creators Program. If they signed into this program – as Nintendo had stated many did – they would enter into a revenue share with Nintendo.
Those who participate in the program can do so by an individual video basis or a channel wide basis for those who are devoted Nintendo fans, with a revenue share of 30% to Nintendo for single videos, and 40% revenue share for channel-wide content. Any channel not registered with the program will have their videos claimed through YouTube’s content ID system, redirecting 100% of ad revenue from any Nintendo related video to Nintendo themselves. This applies regardless of how the Nintendo videos are used: critical review, fan film, school project, game design analysis, doesn’t matter – all ad revenue goes to Nintendo if the channel isn’t signed up.
This is why Angry Joe is so peeved. He was hoping to play and review many Wii U games with his friends. But when he launched his latest Nintendo video – a multiplayer video with his friends, playing Mario Party 10, it was immediately claimed by Nintendo. Considering that Angry Joe is an entertainer, who has a job revolving around showing the most popular games – many of which are Nintendo – to as many people as possible, losing a huge chunk of his earnings is a big deal. But Angry Joe has a bigger beef with Nintendo.
“It’s not enough that I went out and bought a $300 Wii U console. It’s not enough that I bought four pro controllers at 50-60 bucks a piece. It’s not enough that I bought [four $40 Wiimote controllers] so we can have this play session and share it online with people. It’s not enough that I bought four-plus games for the system – spent over $900. That’s not enough for Nintendo.
What’s enough for Nintendo is also monetizing any time you share your content with anybody else. They must have that money as well. That’s how greedy Nintendo Japan is… as if they need that. It’s not enough for them to create a game and have you play it, and pay them for that experience. You need to also pay them for sharing your experience with everybody else. Maybe I’m crazy and I’m the only one that thinks that’s… a little bit too greedy.” -Angry Joe
Unsurprisingly, Angry Joe is not crazy, nor is he alone. He is one of many high-profile online personalities with millions of followers coming out swinging at Nintendo’s new rev-share policy. He joins the likes of Pewdiepie, Totalbiscuit, Jim Sterling, and many more who are denouncing, boycotting, and raging over the practice. Despite Pewdiepie’s zany personality, his sentiments were brought to light four months ago, making Angry Joe’s own statements a louder echo.
“I also think this is a slap in the face to the YouTube channels that does focus on Nintendo game exclusively. The people who have helped and showed passion for Nintendo’s community are the ones left in the dirt the most.
So, you should reconsider this decision Nintendo. (◕‿◕✿)
Everyone loses in this scenario that Nintendo has created, that’s why I’m against it.” -Pewdiepie
While Nintendo is often hailed as an innovative company in the gaming sphere, the reality of the situation is that Nintendo is an old-styled Japanese company. With similar struggles as Square-Enix and other renowned Japanese publishers, these companies struggle with a strict, bureaucratic, hierarchical business structure that is averse to change for fear of losing money. With a worrisome economy in Japan which borders on recession, companies like Nintendo seek to fill their bottom line with any source of revenue they see fit, including the average gamer’s hard work online as entertainers.
Although Nintendo has the right to do this – the video games belong to them, at the end of the day – the move is exceptionally repulsive to the gaming community which is more and more openly expressed through YouTube and Twitch. Nintendo argues that the content is their property, and thus their right to monetize it for themselves. But creators argue that the content they generate is not only theirs, it is an original, transformative creation separate from YouTube. The fact that TotalBiscuit directly predicted what happened to Angry Joe four months ago is eye-opening to the unpopular business practice Nintendo is pursuing.
“My concern, of course, is if they start applying this to review content. Then, frankly, that is a corporate shakedown. You can’t do that. You can’t say, ‘Oh, you want to review our game? We’re going to take some money for that.’ The conflict of interest! Not to mention the obvious idea of potential censorship. [….] It speaks volumes that Nintendo is the only company pulling this off, whereas every other company is putting out statements saying, “You can do this.” [….] This program is junk, as far as I’m concerned, and I strongly suggest you don’t get involved with it.” -Totalbiscuit
Unfortunately for entrepreneurial gamers who entertain online, Nintendo has remained silent about their decision to launch their Nintendo Creator Program, and don’t seem to have any interest in backing down in the face of the many negative criticisms they’ve received. It seems that Angry Joe is yet another person marching away from Nintendo products for a very long time.