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Thomas Was Alone Creator Responds To Nintendo’s Claim To YouTube Ad Revenue

mario_party_characters2Yesterday we reported that Nintendo was filing content ID matches against those who generate Let’s Play videos with Nintendo-owned content on YouTube – taking a chunk of ad revenue from users on the website. Adding fuel to the fire and sparking up another bucket load of controversy is Thomas Was Alone creator Mike Bithell, claiming that Nintendo is ‘doing it wrong’.

The indie developer shot to fame over YouTube after his puzzle platformer title ‘Thomas Was Alone’ was featured on Total Biscuit’s WTF series – a first impressions programme showcasing an array of titles from indie to triple A. Speaking on his blog over at Develop, Blithell slams Nintendo’s reasoning and says that it will, ultimately, hurt the company in the long run. A portion of his statement is featured below, do you agree with him?

“Nintendo seems to be taking a very literal approach to the scene. ‘This guy is making money from videos of Mario, that should be our money’. That is phenomenally silly.

“The guy in question is most likely not making much; even the big guys only get a tiny amount of money by international hardware company standards. Nintendo really, really doesn’t need their cash. By taking these sums away, they are massively dissuading them from continuing to make content from their game.

“But why should they care about losing an LPer? Well, put bluntly, marketing. The audience of these videos are an excitable, tribal group that go out and spend a great deal of money on the games talked about.

“I’ll close with an example from Thomas Was Alone’s sale history. The game launched in July on direct sales, and in November on Steam. The following Christmas I ran a 50 per cent off sale, which was doing rather well. And then, on January 1st, Total Biscuit did a WTF video about the game. Thomas sold eight times more units than on launch day. In a matter of hours, I was outselling Assassin’s Creed 3 on Steam.

“Nintendo. You’re doing it wrong.”

91 thoughts on “Thomas Was Alone Creator Responds To Nintendo’s Claim To YouTube Ad Revenue”

  1. Gotta agree with the man, by taking revenue from the LPer, future LPers wont even bother uploading their videos out of fear of not making profit, a few would still post for the fans but a majority will not I think

    1. Hellstrike(from my wii u)

      fear of not making profit… yeah right… do you have fear of not making profit when playing a game.-??? if yes, then get your you know what on and get a job! moneyhunters like that one hurt the industry

    2. I entirely and totally disagree with that.
      Not all LPers are greedy douches who are only in it for the money.
      Some of them, actually I would hope a sizable portion of them, remember the original reason for doing Let’s Plays.
      Hint; it was never about money.
      This won’t drive away the LPers that are worth watching. It’ll only drive away the scrooges.

      1. You’ve got a point. Most LPers I watch (some big ones too!) are in for the fun they have making those videos. But I also think of at least one person who was a bit butthurt when they learned that their “main income” would be cut off due the ID Claims. I can name him: Josh Jepson. Anyway, you still cannot blame him from being butthurt though but, at the same time, you have to understand that Nintendo is in the right of doing that. Oh, and, I also want to say that I agree with the creator of the “Thomas” game. Internet is a powerful Marketing tool. His game is a good example but I could find a good couple other exemples in which sharing videos, music videos, etc, etc had a positive even if, technically, copyright was broken. Like I say, “Play with Internet, not against it”.

    3. LPers create LPs because they enjoy doing it, if it’s a problem for them, then they shouldn’t be making LPs.

    4. his comparing lets plays to a show that is there to promote people playing the game and gives them a full fledged idea to what the game is.
      they are very different things. Apples and Oranges.

  2. Hellstrike(from my wii u)

    what a crybaby he is if you want money dont expect utube lol, real gamers make vid cuz they want to share not for money so go away we dont need your vids

  3. Whoever makes LP videos really cause they like it will keep making it.

    whoever make it just cause it saw easy cash on streaming a video game will be the ones dropping them.

    that easy.

    1. That’s my viewpoint of it too.

      I could be a fucking moron who should be raped and commit suicide for being such a shithead idiot, though.

  4. So are we allowed to apply these same remarks to M$? Since they did the same, or rather a similar thing with their IPs.

    1. depends, more of the other one, mandatory take down the video, N let videos up.

      This can be easily resolved if those LP video makes talked to N to split profits, like 8/2 or something,

  5. Sigh, again. I’ve mentioned this in about a 100 posts since yesterday.
    LP can be beneficial to obscure little indie projects like Minecraft and Thomas originally were. They didn’t have money for advertising/marketing. LP’s and other word-to-mouth methods were the only way for their games to get well-known.

    But we’re talking about Nintendo here. The single most famous video game company on Earth. On top of that, we’re talking about LP’s of some of the most legendary game franchises ever.

    I’m sorry, but Nintendo doesn’t NEED your “free advertisement”.
    Even with the Wii U… Nintendo could use better word-to-mouth for their new console, but they don’t NEED it, they can do it themselves.

    1. I was about to say pretty much exactly this.

      I can see the logic for small, obscure or unknown games, but it’s clear that publishers like Nintendo don’t REALLY need any help with advertising their games. They tend to sell like hotcakes and are often evergreen titles, selling way beyond the first few months.

      It really does just sound like these people are getting prissy over money, which is NOT what LPing should be about anyway. As I said in the previous article, since both the LPer and Nintendo are providing content, they should be able to split the revenue in a way that seems fair and Youtube should be able to account for that without harming either.

      It’s not Nintendo’s fault that Youtube’s system is flawed when teh former seems fine with letting videos stand; they just want revenue for their creative works being used to make money.

      1. Well. Legally LP’s shouldn’t get jack. They’re working, voluntarily, with someone else’s IP. This is like if us old fansubbers would claim that we deserved to get money for illegally putting anime online, because it could be considered to have a benign influence on the industry.

        1. There are LPer’s who put genuine effort into their commentaries though, although I do fear it will become more safe and homogenised with all these current partnership deals going on.

          I think if the LPer is bringing something genuinely new to the experience then Nintendo should be able to permit them to take a cut. My only really question is what would be a fair split. Again, I think that content creators should be able to decide if they want their content monetised by others using it creatively and it should be split fairly.

        2. Yeah they dont need free adverts they have amazing ones like this pile of pure marketing genius!

          Very little gameplay when compared to shots of players and scenery mostly of children faking reactions at a screen you cannot see.
          no one would ever base purchases on videos of people playing the actual game and having genuine reactions to events you see happen at the same time as the player.
          Nintendo doesn’t NEED these completely free genuine fanmade and sometimes multi million view lets plays. They can use the back of the box marketing spunk like this

          If Lpers shouldn’t make money for amazing adverts, the guys that made the luigi’s mansion should have all their money taken from them

          Just to reiterate
          is what Nintendo comes up with
          they NEED the free adverts

  6. funny thing is most LPers, at least ones I know don’t really monetize their videos anyways. If Nintendo were to make money off of my videos if I were to monetize, I would see it as actually an honor more than a loss of money. I am pretty sure that I will eventually find a way to make enough money doing something other than playing video games.

  7. …..Then go LP non-Nintendo games. It’s not like they need your advertising.

    This is Nintendo, not some novice indie developer.

      1. The biggest mistake is to let a M$ fanboy like you to been able to comment just crap and “trying” to troll us on a Nintendo aimed website, did you lost your track? or you are just acting like a retard (again) boy? Remember that your dear Xbox is doing the same thing AND blocking videos with their weak copyrights, defend your ass next time idiotic kid. ;)

  8. Nintendo need to get their heads out of their asses. They have made so many fuck ups lately i can’t even keep count. but their their biggest mistake was the Wii U.

    1. i think the biggest mistake is not having enough hardcore games for wii and wii u was just pointless. they think they’re a hardware company when really they’re not . mario is only cool if he has cool games hes not cool because you put his face on gummy candies and plushies

    2. I know I’m going to get hate but Nintendo has the right to do this. It is their IP’s and they have the right to do this. They are also loosing a lot of money from the videos. People are watching those videos from start to finish and no longer want the game because they already know what happens. I am one of those people.

  9. Yeah I think I agree too. I think this can help Nintendo in a way.. Please don’t be greedy Nintendo, if the guy does do this, he may get little money and Nintendo may get even more thanks to him. Sometimes for better things to work, sometimes things like this would have to go through maybe? He’s often just trying to make those good games more popular I think.

    Anyway Nintendo, thought you were more nice.. This sort of betrays me.

    1. I think is backward, go and look for the number of view, on a well known game vs the views on an indie or more underground game.

      they get money out of ad, and the ads is based on clicks and views, so more people to see the video, more chances to get more money.

      so the more popular is the game you will be playing the more people will see it. LP benefit more for brand recognition than the game itself from the free advertising

    2. Yeah… because… the single most famous video game company on Earth, with the most legendary franchises ever really needs your help to spread the word to people about their obscure little Mario, Zelda, Metroid, etc games.

      1. Yes but some people might be new to the gaming industry or have never played a nintendo game before and want to try one.
        Get your facts straight

        1. Your assuming that those people will be looking for LP’s of those games to begin with or will necessarily be encouraged to get them based upon watching an LP. There’s no guarantee of either of those things.

        2. Then go to GameStop, Walmart, Best Buy; almost EVERY electronics vendor have gaming kiosks where they can, as you just said, try one, with big, bright signs pointing the way. Yes, they’re demos, but the fact still stands, they can try it.

          And before you say “Well LPers will stop uploading their Nintendo LPs so no advertising for Nintendo,” don’t bother with that point unless there are no more videos, both massive PAST and present, of those Nintendo games. As we speak, there’s someone uploading a part to their LP of a Nintendo game, whether it be a newcomer or a veteran.

          1. A massive protest is coming. Where top Reviewers and Let’s Players will private the videos Nintendo has claimed. Almost like a Black out on YouTube. Also the Press will be speaking up against this more too, since Nintendo is wrongfully attacking Journalists under the guise of this Let’s Players Witch Hunt. Most Top name Internet personalities will be doing Ps3,PS4 and Xbox dropping Nintendo like a stone.

            People say get a real job? What defines a real job? Do you work for free? No! Does any Job expect you to work for Free? People work to Eat and Pay Rent. While I know a lot of Let’s Players released a lot of crap and profane vids that ticked off big N. The content creators following the rules should not be targeted. Or at the very least Nintendo should split the revenue and not steal it.

            What’s going to happen is Nintendo is going to LOSE a market they didn’t even realize they had. But Ubisoft, Warner Bros, Konami and Capcom are onboard with Internet personalities and this is another example of Nintendo being out of touch with the Gaming Community. While this doesn’t toll the end for the Company, it will hurt them in the long run.

  10. I see LP’s as a thing for fun and something you like to get into and experience…i wouldn’t use it as a form of a job but other people do.

    1. In a sense this is a good thing, all the LPs who are not seeking profit and which are the better ones by default will keep being active while all the idiots who attempt to make a living by playing video games will fuck off for good.

      1. Pretty much what ive been posting.

        The test is this, if a LPer doesnt play games like Pikmin 3, Wonderful 101, Bayonetta 2 and other exclusives in the future, despite their popularity, and their supposed “goal” to provide “entertainment”, then they’re full of BS, and money is their only concern.

        Nintendo do need to be very selective with this LPer business though, some people’s content is enough of their own to make it fair use, other are not.

  11. I agree with him. Is Nintendo TRYING to alienate themselves? This, along with poor marketing, advertising and relationships with third parties, makes you wonder what the hell Nintendo are playing at. They seriously need to throw out the buffoons at the top and get some fresh talent in there.

    1. I agree with him. Is Nintendo TRYING to alienate themselves? This, along with poor marketing, advertising and relationships with third parties, makes you wonder what the hell Nintendo are playing at. They seriously need to throw out the buffoons at the top and get some fresh talent in there

      1. No, they are not.
        They’re getting fair dues for their intellectual properties.
        LP’s aren’t supposed to be about making profit anyways; that’s not why they were created or why they continued, and only the ones who have forgotten the original spirit of LPing are doing any complaining on the matter.

            1. this. it is also says on the box of the game that you cant trasmit images of the game in public.

  12. First, so that no one accuses me of bias, I’ll make it clear that I side with the LPers on this issue, as I’ve said in the previous article.

    However, I do not necessarily think that you can make a very valid argument simply by comparing indie games to Nintendo ones. I’d rather they compare Nintendo’s stance to the one adopted by companies such as Ubisoft and Betheseda on LPs, for example.

    That said, it would be naive….I’d even say arrogant, to assume that Nintendo does not benefit from people LPing their games. Of course, you could say that some people can watch the LP instead of playing it, but do you seriously think that the number of people who watch the entire LP instead of buying the game, outnumbers the ones who watch one or two episodes and end up buying it?

    Finally, shame on the trolls who are using this as yet another excuse to take a potshot at Nintendo. Last time I checked, the other hardware companies that you seem to worship didn’t really have a very positive stance towards LPers either.

    1. Agreed on the haters getting lubed up because of this.

      It is a fine line, i don’t meccessarily disagree with Nintendo, i personally don’t want them to do anything, but at the same time, they do have the right in some case.

      It sounds really surgical, but Nintendo need to watch these LPer’s and decided how much of them is just the footage of the game providing entertainment, and how much is the actual person providing it. It’s a really difficult line to draw, because alot of comedy is born from what is seen, i think the differece lies in, if something funny happened, do they A. Laugh it up, stsrt making jokes about it and play around with it, or B. Just go “huh” and move on.

  13. Man, after being a fansubber for 10+ years, this whole debate just blows my mind.
    Fansubbing, in its early days, is acknowledged to have vastly helped the industry grow and popularize anime. Yet even in our heydays, in general, we never were so arrogant as to assume that we deserved to get paid for operating illegally.
    This is entitlement on a stunning level.

    1. LPers should have consulted the legal ramifications of YouTube first. All in all well it is still publicity for nintendo. Good or bad it still keeps them on our minds. Great contribution by the way Miles.

    2. But a game is a interactive experience were each action a player takes is different and can lead to different experiences therefore you only get a little taste and if you want to do it yourself you buy the game, whereas anime is one with a rigid story and plot so viewing a fan subbed anime gives you the whole experience if i saw a fan-subbed episode of Naruto I might go and buy the series but the complete experience of the episode that I saw would be unchanged.
      Fansubs provide the full product for whereas Lets Plays provide one persons subjective experience of product. in simple terms in DBZ goku goes left everytime no change betwen viewing whereas in a game the player can go whatever way you want different every time.

      1. Guys, this doesn’t matter.
        Every asset in the game was created by Nintendo.
        Every gameplay mechanic was created by Nintendo.
        Every character was created by Nintendo.
        Every possible way of playing the game, was programmed by Nintendo.
        Every bug in the game was made possible because of a programming bork by Nintendo.
        Etc, etc.
        I know lots of playthroughs will be different, BUT they are, normally, different because Nintendo programmed the game in a way that GAVE you that option.
        Anyhow, the debate has been mostly focused on a “moral” question, because legally, most people know LP’s have no feet to stand on. These aren’t simple reviews, these aren’t crazy joke videos. These are HOURS-LONG, COMPLETE playthroughs of games.

        1. I’d rather not argue on the internets so im off to bed,
          but a good lets play will be a better advert than a proper advert and advertisng companies get money why not the lets players it takes up time effort and money so why spend that much of your life on something that will not provide you with any physical return, current LPers need incentive in order to provide their product that benifits the game maker as well as the Lper (see my “official adverts are all crap”post above)
          If I click on a Lp of Bioshock chances are that I am considering getting it and just need a little more incentive in order to justify spending money on it. just today a quick lets play convinced me to buy Thomas was alone in a way a quick 2 min advert couldn’t.

  14. It is a really gret area.

    I think it follows the lines of parody bs commetary.
    The great thing about really good LPer’s is that its not about the game, its about the comedy. The comedy is inspired from the source material, which is parody, which is umder fair use.
    But those people have their own content, thats what people are coming back for, places like Two Best Friends, Game Grumps, Video Games Awesome Live, that consistantly try to be entertaining, and have that as their goal.

    And then you have the side of people that upload videos, with some lazy commetary.
    At that point, they are providing no ermnterrainment, the entertainment is completely presented from the game itself, and people making money on that is bullshit.

    Nintendo need to very carefully come to a conclusion on channel over what has enough original content, and what is just a walkthrough, which the purpose of helping people and just muttering to themselves being “funny” by talking in a stupid voice.

      1. It doesn’t even have to be funny, that’s kinda the shitty thing.

        As long the effort to provide entertainment is there, it becomes parody. I personally don’t think Game Grumps is very funny any more, but i couldn’t that every episode they do doesn’t involve them trying to be funny and entertain.
        The kind of people im talking about are the that are literally just thinking out loud, as they play a new game, and “react” to it, because as i said, at that point, the entertainment is fully provided by the game itself, which at that point, people cannot argue that that is not something other people should be making money on.

  15. So let me get this straight, if they do a lets play of a Nintendo game there is a guarate that the video poster is goin to get views and get money? Buth i though Nintendo was irelevant i mean there is no guaratee that you will make money of a lets play until it is proven to be a hit.

  16. Wrong. Microsoft, Sega, and other companies HAVE ALREADY DONE THIS. MONTHS AGO. They even went further and demanded the REMOVAL of the vids. A lot less people cared. It’s just “in” to doom&gloom the fuck out of Nintendo.

  17. You know what?
    Fuck all of these incredibly entitled twats who are upset over losing their monetization.

    I’m going to do what I should have done ages ago; I’m going to gear up.

    I’m going to set aside a separate little nest egg of savings for a new laptop and some decent recording equipment, research how to do a Let’s Play the right way, and start doing them myself in my free time.

    And guess what?

    Anything Nintendo will be without monetization.
    In fact, I won’t turn monetization on for any of my Let’s Play videos done on any system or game.

    Let’s Plays aren’t about money; they’re about the joy of spreading information and sharing the excitement of the games we love.

    It’s time that all of these monetization whores and indie assholes were reminded of the roots and soul of Let’s Plays.
    The best way to lead is through example.

    Keep whining, scrooges; losing your LP’s won’t mean jack so long as the dedicated few still have the heart of a true LPer and continue to bring gaming goodness to the masses.

      1. They can find work like the rest of us do if they try. I have no pity for someone that got to have a job that is literally just playing around while sponging off the content of a larger entity for profit.

        1. What Jobs? 25% of the US is unemployed. Taxes are high on EVERYONE. The 7% unemployment lies the Govt tell folks is ONLY people “collecting unemployment benefits” most folks don’t have jobs. Internet jobs is a way for Thousands of people to make a living. Since the Govt has NOT created any new Jobs. People who have gone to years of School to earn Degrees, AREN’T being paid what they should. Nor can the companies afford to hire people, because the Economy is Horrible. In times of crisis people create new trades without creating increased debt.

          People looked down on Radio and Tv when it first started. Because when it comes down to it, people are jealous of folks making Money doing what they love. They like to throw around “get a real job like them” cause Fast-Food or working at SEARS really counts as a “Real Job” American’s have double sided view on anything, so talking to them is like speaking to a Wall.

          Not all Let’s Players are breaking copyright laws, but many are and have ruined it for everyone. Still if Nintendo doesn’t want to work with the YouTube networks, then those Networks won’t work with Nintendo. Would you provide your time, money and energy for Free? Without getting anything back? Nintendo has not promised to help these people gain exposure, all they are doing is adding ads and taking away revenue from transformative works.

          Again I could care less about the Let’s Play thing cause that has been a Gray area. However; inviting YouTube Reviewers and Press who can’t afford to create an expensive website to trade events and then stealing their video content. Is wrong! Especially for Reviews AND interviews that followed Nintendo’s strict guidelines. So IF Nintendo wants to ignore thousands Reviewers, Media and Let’s Players, that’s fine. Our Business will just be taken elsewhere! Indie Devs beg Internet Personalities to do extended coverage, Impressions and Reviews of their Games. Since it does help sales. Look at Awesomenauts, Minecraft etc.

          – Vet

    1. The best way to lets play is to carve yourself a snug little niche and live in it forever.
      Pewdiepie has the subtle art of shitting himself and over reacting
      Yogscast has complete control of popular minecraft videos
      Game Grumps have the “real talk” that allows them to go way off topic and talk about poopy butts nad not the game
      Total biscuit has the “im a cynical bastard rahh rahh rahh” thing down.
      Yatzee Crowshaw has I hate every game ever response
      AVGN has the AVGN style down.
      Just kidding (fooled you again)
      Do what you like look at jontron for an example He has done so many different kinds of game things that it is hard to predict what he will upload next as long as you are good you will do well (but if you put massive effort into the recording editing scripting purchasing and uploading of videos you might want a bit of cash form it)

      1. I don’t know what my “style” is going to be yet.
        I guess the best way is to just be my unnaturally weird self and let the flow go its own way from there.

  18. Ultimately, the revenue from these adds is a drop in the bucket for Nintendo. But, by YouTube ToS, it is their right. If however the LP’ers actually reached out to Nintendo for support (as is supposed to happen per ToS) , the best case scenario would be some licensing for the LP’er in exchange for an add for Nintendo products chosen by Nintendo.

  19. I agree with him. Nintendo may be thinking they’re doing the right thing, but that’s wrong. The income received from LP’s is too small for a big company, and LPers might move from Nintendo games to rival companies because of that loss. Why should anyone invest their time doing LPers to give their money to someone else? Also, LPers usually give free campaign of the games they’re playing; I’ve acquired some by watching that kind of videos on Youtube. By taking the money from LPers, they’re making them stop playing Nintendo games, and lose lots of free advertisement.

  20. Unless a Let’s Play user has permission to make money off of copyrighted content, Nintendo is not in the wrong. I would do the same thing if I found out someone was making money off my game. Nintendo owns the copyright for their IPs and we have to respect it. I don’t believe people are allowed to just what they want without proper permission and authorization. Before the “free advertising” excuse comes up, you can still advertise their product for them, but you do not have to make money doing so. You are better off profiting off of original content for a couple of reasons. For one, if a company states their policies on their content and you are profiting on something you made yourself, you do not have to worry about losing money. It does not matter if you are “editing” copyrighted content by adding commentary, it is still copyrighted content. No matter if you add commentary to a video game, remix a song for a music video, make a music video of a copyrighted cartoon, it is still not all of your original content. It’s okay to make those things, but it is not okay to profit off of them.

    1. By the “free advertising” logic, that means anyone can take a person’s content and upload it to the internet and make money off of it. Then they would say they were just “advertising”. It is still copyright infringement.

  21. nintendo could make some deals in future with some lets players not asses that do it for money but people like chuggaconroy who looks at every detail the game has to offer and share his humor and thoughts with others.Those are the lets players i feel bad for that do it for joy and thrill

  22. I love Thomas Was Alone. Such a fun game. I am really glad he was straight to the point and honest without being a dick about it. I think people in general really need to stop using YouTube to start legal problems anyways. Who gives a shit if 3 million people watch “Gangnam Style” on PsyFanXOXO’s channel instead of PsyVEVO. Seriously, YouTube really sucks now. It’s too advanced to play half the time and the ads just kill it. You can’t even watch a movie trailer without watching another one before it.

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