YouTubers gritted their teeth when Nintendo announced new rules for livestreaming its games earlier this year, but YouTube’s head of gaming, Ryan Wyatt, says he believes there are better options.
Wyatt told Polygon that YouTube and Nintendo have constant conversations with each other to try and figure out how to benefit both the video game publisher and the creator community on YouTube. Wyatt said that while the question was better posed to Nintendo, there are a few changes that Nintendo can make to make for a more engaged community.
“They’re spending a lot of time looking at how to engage their creation community and how to handle monetization,” Wyatt said. “[YouTubers] are able to livestream Nintendo content and monetize through our non-ad products. That’s a better question served to them for what they want to do in the future, but I think there are ways to better improve and better optimize how they work with the creators.”
In September, Nintendo announced that YouTubers who belong to Nintendo’s Creators Program, which launched in 2015, wouldn’t be able to livestream Nintendo games under that account. This meant YouTubers can’t monetize their livestreams, and are required stream games under a separate account. People partnered through Nintendo’s Creators Program could still upload Let’s Plays videos, but even that aspect isn’t without criticism from the community.
Many of YouTube’s biggest creators, whose videos center around gameplay content, have stayed away from Nintendo’s program. The issue comes down to division of revenue earned from videos. A YouTuber earns 60 percent of a cut from a typical YouTube video. Google, YouTube’s parent company, takes the other 40 percent. If a YouTuber belongs to Nintendo’s Creators program and uploads a video with Nintendo content, they’ll earn even less. Nintendo and Google each take a piece of the proceeds earned (70 percent for channels; 60 percent for videos).
Here’s the big issue: If YouTubers don’t sign up for Nintendo’s Creators Program, then they can’t upload any videos featuring Nintendo content. If they do, Nintendo will claim copyright infringement and the videos will be demonetized. For a video that earns more than a few million views, that’s quite a bit of revenue lost through AdSense, Google’s advertising network.
Monetization is an ongoing issue for the community, but it’s one that YouTube is trying to address. Wyatt said YouTube takes “it very seriously when it comes to creators’ monetization and we continue to try and improve upon it.” That means the company is trying to be more transparent with the community about how videos are demonetized and why.
“We do that in a variety of ways; through help centers, partnership programs, and one-on-one conversations,” Wyatt said. “We’re continuing to come up with way that we can be more transparent to a community and we are working toward better transparency.”
It’s unclear how Nintendo will address monetization concerns, but Polygon has reached out for comment and will update when more information becomes available.