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Making Sense Out of Nonsense: Nintendo & YouTube

Ciel

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INTRODUCTION:

 

Well, rather than sit here and work on any of my three (read: four) papers I will instead try to do the impossible. That is, as I eat my lunch on a Tuesday afternoon—being thankful there was no class today—I will attempt to make sense out of nonsense. I am not the smartest cookie in the pickle-jar, that I admit, but I am seemingly the only one, save for Nintendo fanboys of course, who is confused by the YouTuber outrage against Nintendo. At the very least, I represent the minority.

 

But where does my problem rest, you ask? Surely, you are saying to yourself, it is even more nonsense to support the stupid practices of a company who carry the thorny baton of consumer destruction passed down from EA (Electronic Arts). But let me stop your strange, possibly disanalogous, imagery there. Yes, Nintendo is in full-blown nonsense mode, but they are not the target of my confusion in this instance. Nor in fact is the group of YouTube cool-kids who band together like they are part of some popular high-school click and say, "No Nintendo, no more!"

 

So what is the officer, problem?

 


 

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THE GREED ARGUMENT:

 

It is the chief argument those YouTubers and their acolytes are putting forth that puzzles me so. (OK, so maybe it is them.) "Nintendo is being greedy. This is very greedy of Nintendo." Does anyone else sense the irony here? There are numerous arguments a person could make against Nintendo here. Let me try one: Nintendo making money off of people showing off/playing their products is like John Deer wanting profits for every lawn some thirteen-year-old cuts during Summer vacation assuming of course that he or she uses a John Deer product (and they'd be stupid not to). Disanalougs again? Or how about part of my paycheck having to go to Subaru because I used their car to get to work and without that car I wouldn't have been able to make money in the first place. OK this seems more disanalgous. At any rate this is wrong. This is unethical. We could have this discussion, we could even turn this discussion into something greater, something more mature. But we're not. I don't care to do it either so I don't blame anyone. In the end, it comes down to complaining. The problem for both parties is this: instead of making enough money that would give Scrooge McDuck a feathery hard-on they are making enough money that would give Scrooge McDuck a feathery hard-on. See what I did there?

 

And yet, there exists the "greed argument." To my knowledge Nintendo allows certain games to be on display in YouTube videos, but they take 40% of the profit that particular video makes. Rather than "share" the profits with a company one supports and wants to see flourish—especially when they haven't been—YouTubers want all of it. "Nintendo doesn't need the money, this is blatant corporate greed." But here's the thing, do you Mr. Youtube Gamer? You are already making astronomically more than the general world population. And for what? Effectively being a dolt and catering to dolts. You're not contributing to society contra to your belief (so maybe just Capitalism) and in most cases you tarnish the image of a fandom you so proudly wish to defend. Oh, ad-hominem attack; this just got real. Let's be honest you are in this for the money. Say what you will, but you will not convince me otherwise. Does this upset me? Nope. I like money, too.

 


 

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Conclusion:

 

Are they entitled to it all? Yes, absolutely. Is Nintendo being greedy? I think the problem is with the words we are using, dear Brutus. It is obvious the reason they, Nintendo, want revenue from YouTube videos is because they want to make more money. I guess Nintendo has the understanding that they will make money from YouTube videos and even more when people go and buy their products, but when no one is buying their products because no one is posting Nintendo-based videos the whole thing seems self-defeating. But I digress. If one is going to make the "greed argument" then it only makes sense for that very YouTube Gamer to liken him or herself to Nintendo. You are both businesses and you both want your money. The only way this argument makes sense in the end is if YouTube gaming personalities just admit this. Perhaps the nonsensical nature of this whole situation is two-fold; it is shrouded in quasi-ethical (i.e. distracting) diction and the underlying argument is circular. If someone would come out and say, "Nintendo's policy bothers me because it hurts my revenue," I would understand. If someone would release an estimate of just how much this hurts that revenue I would absolutely be interested. Hint. Hint.

 

In closing and to end rather inconclusively since my food is getting cold, don't be a hypocrite. Make better arguments. I leave with some questions: Why is it seemingly acceptable for individuals to be greedy, but not corporations? Maybe I am being a pessimist, but most people are not philanthropists, most people do not care about others. Why is it common to pretend that YouTube personalities that we follow (who are a business) are the exceptiondo we not want to admit that we ourselves are also no different? I understand that it is 2015. That there is a media craze going on. I understand that being a YouTube Gaming personality is now a full-time job; it is work. People have to get paid. But are they making too much money for doing too little? Most just sit around, play, and talk (read: yell, shout profanity, etc.) and they get paid. They get paid a lot.

 

Go!

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Any rebroadcast, reproduction or other use of the pictures and accounts of this [event or thing] without the express written consent of [corporate entity] is prohibited.

 

 

We see these disclaimers in sports, television shows, music, movies and video games on a regular basis. It is well within Nintendo's rights to pursue these types of 'infractions' despite most companies not bothering with anything beyond outright hosting of free bootleg copies.

 

 

I always see these YouTube 'personas' trying to argue that they are "promoting" the product with a Let's Play, but they are not. They are looking to garner the most views possible in order to profit.

 

 

 

The issue of offering a "Let's Play" is that a person will not typically buy a product in which they have already experienced the main story.

 

 

 

"What about those people who see [PseudoCelebrity] playing it and go out and buy it?" For every person that does this, how many do not? How many skip to the last section just so that they can have 'bragging rights' about knowing the ending or whose goal is to just spoil the ending for others (and ruins the experience to the point where that person will not buy it)? The answer: A whole hell of a lot more do not make that purchase. There is no way to come up with specific numbers because there are so many more variables, but this is Nintendo's attempt to remove the Let's Play as a variable in their own calculations. I do not fault them for it.

 

This doesn't apply to just products that primarily provide experiences, either. What Nintendo is doing applies to many consumer products. Let's say I buy a Pepsi and leave it on my tv show set by accident. I do not receive consent. Guess what might just end up being blurred? The Pepsi can. There is a reason reality tv shows do not allow logos on clothing that goes beyond the fear of offering free advertising. They can protect their brand and their image. If I am shooting a porn, you can bet Coca-Cola does not want their product in my smut.

 

 

I also see the argument of fair use a lot as well, but it is evident that these cries of fair use are being used by people who have absolutely no clue what that means.

 

I am 100% on board with you about that "Greed" argument needing to be laughed out of the door. I find it hilarious that they think everybody should be outraged that for profit companies are seeking more alternative methods of income, especially when the very nature of YouTube is being used as alternative means of income for those very same people. That greed argument definitely cuts both ways.

 

 

 

EDIT: I need to reorganize some of my comment to make it flow a little better, but typing this on my phone.

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So do you favor the notion then of say, not permitting Let's-players and other gaming 'personas'--since a lot of it is also pseudo-journalism--to make any money at all? I certainly am. I am fairly certain the extent of Nintendo's reach only goes so far as to imagery. I am a fan of words; I like them more or less. If you cannot discuss something with words alone then you probably shouldn't be talking about it in the first place. I tossed photos in my post here to capture your attention--and amuse myself. To make up for the fact that I am a moron. I admit that. If people want to "cover Nintendo" all they have to do is exactly that, "cover Nintendo." With prose. It is just a lot easier to hold audience attention--and generate hits--when you have a video running along side banal commentary. Now is it helpful to read about something and see examples? Yes, absolutely. But "theory of" work on YouTube--as it pertains to Gaming anyway--is marginal. No one is deconstructing a shot--that I know of--of a cutscene and breaking it down compostionally, for example.

 

I still prefer to listen to podcasts over let's play commentary simply because there is a lot more craft involved and the discussion is, more often than not, richer. 

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Kiwi does think Nintendo is being a poopy butt about it, but Kiwi does have a few things he's unsure about. Kiwi has already forgot what most of them were so Kiwi will ask one, Is there a minimum amount of money that needs to be made before Nintendo demands their cut, or if Kiwi makes 10 dollars off a video, Nintendo will take 4 away?

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Nintendo demands their cut, or if Kiwi makes 10 dollars off a video, Nintendo will take 4 away?

 

It is exactly that. 

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Great post and excellent read!

 

I've always stood on the same side of the fence on this topic. I can see both sides of the argument for sure, but on one hand you have the company that spends money to create products which in turn produce the content you are watching for entertainment, why should a person who is broadcasting their product make any let alone ALL of the profits off of it?

 

And let's be real, it takes no talent to create a Let's Play, which is the core offender for these arguments. It's very different than a montage, or a parody video or any other sort of video where production and creativity are critical. It's literally some person playing a game from start to finish - and no, reaction cams are NOT creative - which makes playing the game ultimately pointless in most cases, especially for story intensive games.

 

If you look at the biggest channels on YouTube, a good chunk of them are gaming channels, people who make their livelihood off of videos like this. Don't get me wrong, I don't want anyone to lose their source of income, but in cases like this if your source of income is based entirely off of someone else's labour? You might need to rethink your strategy....

 

Of course we all like to fight for "the little guy" because the big scary corporate machine sucks right? Would I take the chance to make money off of uploading playthroughs of Zelda? Sure! Who wouldn't? But does that make it right? Not really, and it's sad that we've come to a point where we feel entitled to it.

 

Phew~

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If you look at the biggest channels on YouTube, a good chunk of them are gaming channels, people who make their livelihood off of videos like this. Don't get me wrong, I don't want anyone to lose their source of income, but in cases like this if your source of income is based entirely off of someone else's labour? You might need to rethink your strategy....

 

I like to think that eventually society will reach the point where we realize not doing this is a waste of our time. As a result everyone will just be streaming videos of their opinions, commentary, etc. Eventually, that is to say by the end of all this, no one will be doing anything that is actually productive or beneficial. It will get to the point, I like to think anyway, where even the companies themselves stop creating anything at all and simply give commentary on other companies who are themselves doing nothing at all. Everyone will watch. Everyone will make money. We'll all be rich. World peace! WORLD PEACE!

 

S4S (sub for sub) will become, like it isn't already, the new MySpae PC4PC (picture comment for picture comment).

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Great post and excellent read!

 

I've always stood on the same side of the fence on this topic. I can see both sides of the argument for sure, but on one hand you have the company that spends money to create products which in turn produce the content you are watching for entertainment, why should a person who is broadcasting their product make any let alone ALL of the profits off of it?

 

And let's be real, it takes no talent to create a Let's Play, which is the core offender for these arguments. It's very different than a montage, or a parody video or any other sort of video where production and creativity are critical.

 

Is stand-up comedy not real content? It's just a dude standing on a stage talking. He's not "creating" anything other then jokes, so why should he make any money off of it? Before Kiwi gets any sillier with analogies, the point he's trying to make is that you're kind of creating an artificial divide here. How's it take more creativity to string together 3 minutes of video game footage and put it to a song, then it does to make entertaining commentary on the spot for an hour (Or however long they do the game for at a time). The good stuff will take effort and creativity no matter how you slice it. The Let's Play can go through editing and such just as the montage can.

 

Kiwi was getting somewhere with that stand-up comedian bit... what was it? Oh yeah, commentary is pretty simple and straight forward as far as "effort" or production values go, but how is it any different from sports commentators? They're not the one making the stuff they're commentating on, but they still make money from it. Kiwi could probably type more on this but he's forgetting half the bullocks he thought of so he'll leave at this.

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Is stand-up comedy not real content? It's just a dude standing on a stage talking. He's not "creating" anything other then jokes, so why should he make any money off of it? Before Kiwi gets any sillier with analogies, the point he's trying to make is that you're kind of creating an artificial divide here. How's it take more creativity to string together 3 minutes of video game footage and put it to a song, then it does to make entertaining commentary on the spot for an hour (Or however long they do the game for at a time). The good stuff will take effort and creativity no matter how you slice it. The Let's Play can go through editing and such just as the montage can.

 

Kiwi was getting somewhere with that stand-up comedian bit... what was it? Oh yeah, commentary is pretty simple and straight forward as far as "effort" or production values go, but how is it any different from sports commentators? They're not the one making the stuff they're commentating on, but they still make money from it. Kiwi could probably type more on this but he's forgetting half the bullocks he thought of so he'll leave at this.

 

Fair points but a comedian creates his jokes or "commentary" as you call if from his own collective creativity. Sure, Let's Play commentators might have to do the same to be able to talk over top the game for an hour but the difference is their commentary can't stand on it's own without relying on the real content, aka the game. Sports Commentators sure, they're providing commentary on something they didn't create but they're doing so because they are being paid to do so by the ones "creating" the content. If Nintendo were to pay or ask Pewdiepie to do Let's Plays then it would the same ballgame.

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I can promise you that being a comedian is far more work than any other job we can think of. Let's Players (and the like) are not comedians. Most things take effort to some degree, but effort is relative is it not? For me there is no reason to have an argument based around "the amount of effort" one exerts in the process of "creating." But since you are wondering, it does in fact take "more effort" to write and deliver a good joke than it does to edit a Let's Play video.

 

Why do we have to see Let's Players anyway? (The ego is real.) I have my own theories of course. Loving the commentary here though, I shall have to post another something at some point. 

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Fair points but a comedian creates his jokes or "commentary" as you call if from his own collective creativity. Sure, Let's Play commentators might have to do the same to be able to talk over top the game for an hour but the difference is their commentary can't stand on it's own without relying on the real content, aka the game.

 

That seems to be based on the assumption that what a person would watch a LP is for the game itself, rather then the person playing it. For some it may be true, for Kiwi definitely not. Kiwi does not watch many streams or Let's Plays. Kiwi can really only recall one Let's Play that he took the time to watch that was of a game he hadn't played before (Starsiege, in case you're wondering) and Kiwi played it immediately afterwards because it seemed rad (and it was). The window is often in a corner, sometimes even covered up partially by a game Kiwi's actually playing. So the statement that the game and not the commentary is the "real content" (unless Kiwi is misunderstanding the statement) does not seem true.*

 

For me there is no reason to have an argument based around "the amount of effort" one exerts in the process of "creating."

 

Then what is the issue of someone making money off of a Let's Play?

 

Kiwi would follow up on the Sport's commentator thing but it's late and Kiwi actually dun know too much about it to begin with so feel free to mock him for that or something.

 

*Of course, there are some who do just watch them to see a game's story, but basing the worth of a work on the intent of a portion of viewers seems a bit silly.

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