For nearly three years now, creators who wanted to make money from videos that included footage of Nintendo games had to go through the onerous approval and content requirements of the Nintendo Creators Program, which also gave Nintendo a 30 percent cut of any ad revenues.
Today, Nintendo announced it would be halting that program at the end of the year, in favor of a new set of “basic rules” for video creators. If those rules are followed, Nintendo now says, “we will not object to your use of gameplay footage and/or screenshots captured from games for which Nintendo owns the copyright.”
The guidelines, as written, encourage creators to use Nintendo content in videos with “that include your creative input and commentary.” Direct, unedited videos of Nintendo game footage without such additional content “are not permitted,” Nintendo says, unless they are shared through “system features, such as the Capture Button on Nintendo Switch.”
That’s a requirement that could impact the popular genre of YouTube longplays, which capture hours of direct gameplay footage for countless games.
In addition, Nintendo says video creators can only monetize these videos through a number of official partner programs on a handful of platforms, including YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, and Facebook. Other forms of monetization, such as third-party advertisements or endorsement schemes, are not allowed under the guidelines.
Nintendo also says it reserves the right to remove content that includes unreleased games (as we saw in a recent, widespread leak) or that “features pirated Nintendo software.” That latter guideline may be of interest to speedrunners and other retro game enthusiasts who often use flash carts full of ROM files to stream their games.
“We appreciate and encourage the continued support of content creators, and thank them for their dedication to helping us create smiles.”
While it’s nice to see Nintendo loosening its iron grip on how its games are shared online, the new guidelines are still much more stringent than those of some competitors. Microsoft’s rules for Xbox video content, for instance, are less strict about video content rules and monetization methods.