The revenue from let’s play videos and streaming is, in principle, earned by the content creators and video distribution platforms. A Japanese game developer has recently raised concerns about the current structure and pointed out that revenue should also be shared with game developers.
This sentiment was shared by Hiromichi Takahashi, president of AMATA, who previously worked as the director of Doko Demo Issyo at Sony Interactive Entertainment. AMATA is a game company that has so far developed VR titles such as The Tale of Onogoro and Last Labyrinth.
Takahashi first pointed out that YouTube and Twitch are technically able to detect what games are featured in the videos being posted and streamed on their platforms. In 2019, Twitch acquired the Internet Game Database (IGDB), an online database about games, which is used to obtain data about game titles and genres. YouTube also has a feature that detects the game being played in a video and automatically generates a link to the game under the video description.
Takahashi stated that using these features, a system should be introduced to distribute advertising revenue from video playback to game developers as well. In a subsequent tweet, he expressed his concern about the current revenue sharing structure.
Effectiveness as advertisement and loss of opportunity
While acknowledging that let’s plays and livestreams are a good way to promote games, Takahashi pointed out that some games have little benefit from them as far as advertising goes. He explained that for adventure games and other types of games which end up being consumed just through watching the video, it is difficult to determine how much the game is being promoted and how much it ends up being a loss of opportunity.
In other words, in the case of linear story-driven games, if people experience the entire story through the video, they are likely to lose the desire to buy and play the game themselves. This means that there is a relatively high possibility of losing sales to potential customers.
Perhaps to prevent such potential losses,
Takahashi expressed the concern that if the current revenue sharing structure is left in place, the types of games which lose opportunity in this way may gradually stop being made. He also states that this could lead to a loss of diversity in games. In fact, as far as we can observe, there are a great many parties in the industry which are concerned about these points.
On a related note, there are some systems in place that do allow game developers to receive revenue from video content and livestreams. For example, Niconico has a system that allows users to specify the game featured when posting and streaming videos, thereby providing incentives to game developers. PLAYISM, a publishing brand operated by Active Gaming Media (the owner of this website), also works with Niconico in this way.
On the other hand, this kind of system requires cooperation between the game developer/publisher and the video distribution platform; so whether a similar system can be implemented on YouTube and Twitch is also up to these parties. In any case, there may continue to be calls for change in the revenue sharing structure for game-related content on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch.
Written by. Amber V based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2023-04-27 20:20 JST)