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Nintendo goes after YouTube stars

April 17th, 2015 by ,    photos by

The gaming giant is out to collect major coin


Pop artisit PSY is known for "Gangman Style". The music video has received over 2.2 billion views on YouTube.


If you want to collect thousands of subscribers and millions of views with your gaming skills via a channel called "your own" - through a little known site called YouTube - you’d better expect a great big gaming giant will be coming after your hard-earned (hard-played?) moolah.

Using branded products to showcase individual talent on the web is common practice - the difference lies in how said great, big gaming giant versus, say, the typical fashion label, handles the free advertising: The latter won’t come after you for promoting their product on the web. In fact, they might even send you more clothes to promote. Free clothes. Gloriously chic clothes. (Okay, we may be hobby-biased here, but we digress…) 

Share the wealth, gamers

Let’s say you decide you’re really good at Mario Bros. Like, really good. Maybe even good enough to be famous for it (trust us - people have become famous for doing much less). You decide you’ll tape yourself playing the game. You’ll upload it onto Youtube. You’ll grow your very own following. And you’ll make money doing it. 

And if you make money, Nintendo makes money. No, not because your gaming skills have inspired your subscribers to go out and pick up their very own copies of the game in hopes of making it pro like you (though that’s likely exactly what they did after watching you) - Nintendo secures their profit by taking a 40 percent cut of all that you manage to rake in. Four dimes on the dollar. Almost half. They did invent Mario Bros., after all. Meanwhile, Google still has its hands on 50 percent of total ad revenues - leaving you with a 30 percent cut of the ad revenues garnered from your efforts.

But something is better than nothing

…Which is what might have happened in 2013 had Nintendo succeeded in its attempt to secure 100 percent of revenues from gamers’ Youtube videos. Can you imagine a world in which Sweden-based Youtube star PewDiePie wasn’t earning $7 million annually just for playing video games on camera? It’s too much to bear!  Let’s not forget about YOGSCAST Lewis and Simon - another pair of gaming Youtube stars who bring in $6.7 million annually through their game-playing content. These are the first and second highest paid Youtube stars out there - which proves gaming isn't just child’s play (more like Rothschild’s play - get it?)

The market has spoken

You might think this is some ploy to keep the gaming giant afloat - but the company’s stock (NTDOY) is actually one of the better performing ones out there. Shares cranked up 27 percent last month after the company announced they’d be sending Mario to the land of mobile. It’s up 40 percent so far this year alone, while the S&P 500 Index is up 1.59 percent year-to-date.

It has a market cap of $2.64 trillion (with a tr-) and profits that manage to more than quadruple in a year even when revenues are down - as was the case last year when, according to CNET, the company reported a 484 percent surge in profits on an 11 percent drop in revenues year-over-year.

Some legal experts suggest Nintendo might not have a fighting chance in the courtroom (copyright law can be a fickle beast) - but they’ll certainly have the capital to back their endeavour. 

Game on

Indeed, it’s hard out here for a YouTube star - but if there’s one thing Nintendo perhaps wants to make clear to its fans, it’s that it didn’t make its money playing games. Er, well… you know what we mean.


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