YouTuber PewDiePie takes aim at Nintendo... but why?

Nintendo logo

With almost 35 million subscribers to his YouTube channel, when PewDiePie uploads a video, people watch.

Felix Kjellberg features a lot of video games in his clips. These get a huge number of views, and therefore profit, from adverts.

Until now, if he wanted to play Nintendo games in his videos, Nintendo would get all the money.

The company now wants to share up to 70% of the revenue with users who feature their games.

So why is PewDiePie unhappy?

Nintendo logo
Image caption Nintendo is the world's largest video game company by revenue

This is why...

Nintendo's new "Creators Program" includes users having to register with them, and agree to them collecting the ad revenues from their channels or specific videos.

YouTubers will only get a share of the advertising revenue if they're video is approved by Nintendo.

This has been seen by some as a way of Nintendo attempting to stop people making money from videos which criticise its games.

In a post on Tumblr, PewDiePie described the changes as a "slap in the face" for YouTube channels that focus purely on Nintendo games.

"The people who have helped and showed passion for Nintendo's community are the ones left in the dirt the most," he said.

Felix Kjellberg
Image caption Pewdiepie often commentates on the latest video games

Felix compares Nintendo with Mojang, which created Minecraft, and has no rules on users posting footage on YouTube: "This is why a tiny one man indie game like Minecraft could grow into a 2.5 billion dollar deal."

"That's 2.5 billion... Made possible, largely from the exposure it got from YouTube!"

He argues that most of the money made from advertising was because the viewers had subscribed to him, not Nintendo, and urges the company to think over its decision.

"I'll still play Nintendo games that I want to play on my channel as usual. I'm lucky to be in a situation where losing ad revenue on a few videos wont matter. However, many people on YouTube are not in that situation."


At first glance this change seems like good news for YouTubers, writes Newsbeat Technology Reporter Jonathan Blake.

The company had offered no share of its advertising revenue from YouTube, and now it's offering a large chunk to the people making the videos.

But the sticking point - and the reason PewDiePie and others are unhappy - is the approval.

For someone to earn money from a video featuring a Nintendo game, the company must review it and put a tick in a box saying it's happy.

If a video criticises a game or doesn't fit with Nintendo's PR strategy, they may choose not to approve it - meaning the YouTuber gets nothing.

Nintendo has chosen not to block videos it doesn't approve, it just won't let anyone else make money from them.

So in the end, it's about control.

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