Come To The Dark Side


Today, Matthew tackles the lack of co-operation some companies exhibit when it comes to the content produced by Let’s Players.

I’ve stated numerous times both here on the site and in my Twitter feed there are certain games you’ll never see being played on The Geek Infusion, regardless of my enjoyment of them. I decided you were due an explanation, and besides, it makes good blog fodder, as Mike would say.

There’s a certain amount of trust that happens between a let’s player and the publishing company. Some companies are happy to allow you to produce content, (Blizzard, Ubisoft and Bungie spring to mind) as long as you adhere to certain rules or requests the company has.

Blizzard, for example, doesn’t want you to be using language which is overly obscene, and you can’t run a contest having a large-ish cash prize. Bungie wants an e-mail and Ubisoft has no restrictions. These are companies who “get” it.

Nintendo? Microsoft? Not so much. And this is to their detriment.

When I sit down to do a let’s play it’s with one goal in mind: advise the customer. I want you, my reader or my viewer, to be as informed as possible when you whip out your credit card in the PSN or walk into your local games retailer. This is my agreement with you. Yours is to read my blog if it tickles your fancy.

Nintendo and Microsoft though? They’re not satisfied with an arrangement like this. They’re doing what they can to either stymie it, or stick their hands into our already tasty plum pudding, like some sort of corporate Little Jack Horner. Or this one professor who wouldn’t leave my page design alone one time in college. But I digress.

Microsoft is arguably the worst of the two offenders; their policy is practically draconian. To wit, you can’t even have the title one of their games in the title of your let’s play video. If you do, you receive a copyright strike.

Two things are the matter here:

  1. It demonstrates a lack of confidence in your product.
  2. It screws over the person in question as it can cause a shutdown of the entire channel.

In a cut-and-dry world, it’s simple to see Microsoft as being in the right. The games belong to them, they have every right to decide who gets to broadcast them, and that should be the end of the story. But it’s not.

In an age where the most minute detail of every media project is known long before release (unless you’re JJ Abrams somehow), I submit once information is out there, you lose control of it. By attempting to oversee all access to your content so strictly, you only stymie sales and generate ill will amongst your consumers.

This is especially true when talking about video games. By clamping down on Let’s Plays, you’re asking the consumer to spend nearly $80 CAD on a new game, while barely letting them see what they’re actually getting first. This isn’t just silly, it’s wrong.

You can go ahead and argue any streamer can just use the proper tags to get around this rule, but it doesn’t work quite that well. YouTube and, by extension Google, use keywords to search. This means if you use a word that is in the title, you will find the broadcast long before any of the folks who are simply using tags.

As I said before this is a staggering example of a lack of confidence.

If you’ve properly developed your game, tested it, and taken the time to go through the bugs, then you have absolutely nothing to fear. Even if the gaming community isn’t crazy about your game’s story (or lack thereof) you aren’t going to be universally panned. You’ll get an average score. You will be boilerplate.

And as terrible a fate as this is, it is infinitely superior to being derided by the community, or worse, ignored by them. This is exactly what’ll happen if you’re overly strict in your terms of service.

I know streamers don’t possess the inalienable right to make money off the backs of hard-working developers, and I would never suggest this.

I do, however, have the duty to provide customers with the truth. If you want to be dramatic about it, it’s a covenant. (See what I did there? I mentioned Microsoft, Bungie and a Covenant. I’m particularly proud of myself.)

As much as I’ve railed against Microsoft so far, I think Nintendo is actually worse. Their method of doing business on YouTube is far more insidious because it looks like a gift in disguise. A Trojan horse, if you will. You can go read the legal mumbo jumbo HERE if you’re really so inclined and have, you know, umpteen hours.

But let me boil it down to two points:

  1. If you haven’t monetized your videos, you’re fine.
  2. If you have, Nintendo will force themselves into your adspace and remove any and all income you were receiving from those spaces.

So… Yeah.

I’m a huge Nintendo fan. All you need to do is take a look at my most anticipated games this year, and you’ll see I’m a sucker for Zelda. But, due to these ridiculous measures, Nintendo won’t be receiving a look in from me on my Twitch account, nor on the YouTube channel.

Heck, I’ll even go so far as to say I won’t even write reviews for their games on the blog.

I know that Nintendo isn’t afraid of small little guys like me. But, if enough pundits and reviewers stop suckling at the corporate teat for a while? Maybe sad, old curmudgeons like Nintendo, Microsoft and AOL will wake up enough to realise the truth in that old saw: “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”

Frankly, Nintendo? I expect better of you. Microsoft, I can believe. They’ve always been a giant pain the game industry’s ass. But you? You practically raised my generation. And after all the time and attention we gave you growing up, this is how we’re repaid? Shame on you.

Welcome to the Geek Infusion. An officially Nintendo Free Zone.

Take care, and see you next time.

Come To The Dark Side

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