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Hard News Recap 2013 - YouTube and Publishers wage war on Let’s Plays

12/30/13 3:20pm

For reasons even I can’t understand, people really like to watch other people play video games. This has lead to a rise in services like Twitch TV or mega content creators like GameGrumps and PewDiePie. Of course as more and more of these channels emerge, publishers begin to worry about the messages their games are being used to communicate. SEGA started by pulling down videos for a few specific IPs, but when Nintendo began monetizing other people’s videos, that’s when things started heating up.

In what is rumored to be under direction from Nintendo Japan, the gaming giant has begun to monetize “videos featuring Nintendo-owned content”. It’s generally non-specific and doesn’t seem to have any consistency. Some videos are flagged, others are not, but it can happen at any time. YouTube would then take this even further, mostly thanks to music license companies, by instituting a much more stringent policy on copyright violations. Their new algorithm lead to a massive influx of Let’s Play channels coming under attack, and the fallout is taking place even as this story goes live.

Some publishers like Capcom, Ubisoft, Valve, and Deep Silver have come to the aid of Let’s Players; along with big name personalities like Kevin Smith. But as the content creators prepare for an exodus on the platform, monetary compensation networks like Polaris are holding them in place via their contracts. That and now there are reports indicating over 400 partners have been switched from Polaris to Record Promote Monetize, without any notice.

While it seems like Let's Play creators are losing the battle, the war will certainly spill into 2014. 

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