Sunday, 16 June 2013

The 'Lets Play' battle.

“Let’s play” video’s have been a big part of gaming culture for years. Everything from super short game tips, to walk through video’s to massive play sessions. Some have an entertaining commentary others are just straight game video’s with nothing added. Twitch is a website dedicated to video’s of people playing games. You really could argue that it’s an integral part of gaming culture and its been this way since we were technically able to record and stream games.

At this point software like OBS (open broadcast software) and FF Show make it a simple process to record a game along with another video source (such as your face) and then record that for YouTube or broadcast live to places like Twitch.

It’s great for gamer's to pick up play-tips and tricks as well as to see master gamer's at work. It’s great for developers as they get a lot of free advertising and if a video goes viral or just becomes popular for its content then it can even generate fresh interest in a long forgotten game.

Personally, I am a massive fan of game videos. I feel that they bring a lot to the table for all gamer's. Sometimes the commentary is fantastically informative or funny. Sometimes when watching a gamer play something like Counter-Strike I am stunned by the superhuman response time and aiming skill.

With all that I have said above you can imagine my shock when I heard about Nintendo of all people attacking Lets play video’s on YouTube and claiming the advertisement revenue. This revenue must be less than pocket change to a company like Nintendo and doing this not only hurts the reputation of the Mario toting monolith but it makes people less likely to create these video’s in the first place.

Do Nintendo really think that Super Mario games would be the legends they are today without gamers making video’s about them?

Surely the revenue that Nintendo are getting from video’s like this is worth far less than the good reputation and free advertising that they would get in return.

Many YouTubers are removing Nintendo content and publicly stating that they will not be making any more and an act of defiance against this move and I can see why.

Granted in some ways I can see that Nintendo feel a little robbed by people making money from their games but it takes a lot of time and skill to make an entertaining video and if it gets enough hits to reward them for their work then I see no reason for Nintendo to take issue.

Then just the other day the revelation that Saga are actively having video’s removed from the internet came to light. In the case of Sega they are claiming that almost any mention on them is some how a breach of copyright.

I have no idea why companies and developers are shunning the very audience that keeps them in business. I also don’t know how they can possibly take issue with someone enjoying their product so much that they go to the effort to share information about it.

Whats next? Will a bad review result in a DMCA style removal?

This kind of thing is especially strange when you consider that most indie developers would kill for the kind of attention that Super Mario or Shining force gets even now.

I cant imagine Mojang Software having Minecraft video’s removed or claiming the revenue from the very things that made the game a success in the first place. How about the developers of little inferno or Bit Trip runner?

Nintendo, Sega and every other large developer that have content removed like in this manner will only help the more friendly indie developers to get more attention. In the long run this type of behavior will not hurt gaming but it will destroy the good will that some companies have build while highlighting the hard work and great attitude of the indies.

Surely there is a way to settle this and set it in stone. Can a company come out and promise to be ‘nice’ about LP video’s for ever? After all no one saw this coming from Nintendo and Sega. I would have gone as far as to say that there was no reason for this at all.

Who know, maybe sooner or later we will be asked to take down this very post because talking about games has become considered infringement.


Laurence Cook said...

It seems odd, I know that I have actually brought games after seem twitch channels of tham.

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