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Nintendo’s backward YouTube policies are emblematic of why it’s getting killed by Xbox and PlayStation

Published Sep 17th, 2015 5:05PM EDT
Nintendo YouTube Copyright Takedown Policy

Let’s just come out and say it: Nintendo these days is a backward company that is getting killed by Microsoft and Sony because it refuses to adapt with the times. If you want evidence to support this, you need look no further than the company’s utterly backward YouTube policies in which it issues takedown orders left and right to some of its most dedicated fans.

RELATED: Nintendo CEO Apologizes After Lackluster E3 Showcase Leads to a Collective Fanboy Meltdown

Nintendo’s latest battle against YouTubers began last week when it began issuing takedown orders for videos featuring fan-created Mario levels, likely because such fan-made mods might be a competitive threat to the new Super Mario Maker game that also lets you build your own Mario worlds.

“Modders had long beat Nintendo to the punch in creating software that allowed fans of Mario Bros. to create their own levels, upload them, and have folks… play them out and eventually master them,” writes TechDirt. “This was allowed to go on exactly up until Nintendo decided to jump into this arena, at which time the takedowns ensued… There has been an active Mario Bros. modding community for these past few years, dedicated to building the most challenging levels for others to play and then post their runs on YouTube. In other words, these are huge Nintendo fans.”

This isn’t a one-time incident, either. Nintendo is notorious among YouTube gamers for being incredibly anal about the kinds of videos you’re allowed to post of its games. Added to this, Nintendo’s Creators Program for YouTubers forces gamers to give up between 30% and 40% of the advertising revenue their videos generate. This led PewDiePie, the world’s biggest YouTube gamer, to call out the company earlier this year and say he wasn’t going to post Nintendo videos anymore.

These sorts of practices are not common with other gaming companies, as popular YouTube gamer Angry Joe has noted he’s never had these kinds of issues with any other publisher.

What Nintendo simply does not understand here is that younger gamers absolutely love watching others play games on YouTube. Yes, watching other people play video games on YouTube is a little bit silly, but it’s still a major trend and it’s helped games such as Minecraft grow through word of mouth. For contrast, consider that Skyrim publisher Bethesda has been more than happy to allow people to mod its games and post videos of their mods on the web — in fact, Bethesda will even promote these videos to generate more buzz for its games.

But don’t tell any of this to Nintendo, which insists on being a complete control freak about its IP. Never mind that Nintendo is annoying its most ardent fans with its takedown policies, it’s also killing what is essentially free advertising for its games that can help improve sales.

But sadly, this is what I’ve come to expect from Nintendo. And this is one reason why it’s been crashing and burning so hard over the past few years.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.