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Nintendo Wants YouTubers to Pretend Its Competitors' Games Don't Exist

The "whitelist" of Nintendo-approved YouTube-able games is now even more restrictive.

Nintendo’s revenue-sharing program for YouTube, already made controversial by some odd rules, is getting even thornier.

The quick recap: The Nintendo Creators Program, which launched last week, lets video creators split the 60 percent of ad revenue left to them by YouTube with Nintendo. Previously, the video game company believed it was owed all the money generated by videos of its games, but now it’s willing to let YouTubers get 60 percent to 70 percent of the post-YouTube take.

Now, Nintendo is telling YouTubers that if they want to get paid, they may have to delete some videos from their channels completely.

An update posted to the program’s website says video makers won’t be accepted to the program at the higher revenue-share rate — 70 percent — if their channels have any videos of any games not explicitly permitted by a Nintendo whitelist.

“If you have already submitted your channel for registration and it includes video(s) that contain game titles outside of the list of supported games, please remove those videos from your channel within two weeks of the submission date,” the update reads. “If the video(s) are not removed from the channel within this time, your channel will not be registered with the program.”

That whitelist omits some big-on-YouTube titles like Nintendo’s own Super Smash Bros. series. More crucially, it means that anyone who makes videos of games made by Nintendo’s competitors — since those games are also not on the whitelist — will have to submit videos one by one and take only a 60 percent cut of the revenue.

The new rule, originally spotted by VentureBeat, brings into sharper relief the difference between Nintendo’s view of the video world and that world’s view of itself. As YouTube star Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg wrote on Tumblr last week, he and his personal brand of silliness are more popular than the titles he highlights.

“If I played a Nintendo game on my channel, most likely most of the views and ad revenue would come from the fact that my viewers are subscribed to me,” Kjellberg wrote. “Not necessarily because they want to watch a Nintendo game in particular.”

Still left in the air is what happens to video channels that have already built followings around a mix of Nintendo and non-Nintendo titles, or around videos of blacklisted games like Super Smash Bros. And left unknown is what sort of word-of-mouth exposure those games might miss out on if the creators of “Let’s Play” videos choose to just avoid the hassle and skip them entirely.

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