Fez Creator: YouTubers Are "Stealing" Content From Game Developers

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Fez Creator: YouTubers Are "Stealing" Content From Game Developers

phil fish mugshot

Fez creator Phil Fish says that YouTubers who don't share ad revenue with game developers are "basically pirates."

Oh look, Fez creator Phil Fish opened his mouth to say something controversial again. This time, he has equated anyone who uses video game content on YouTube to pirates, saying that a significant portion of all ad revenues from these videos should go directly to the game developers.

"YouTubers should have to pay out a huge portion of their revenue to the developers from which they steal all their content," Fish said in the first of a series of tweets. "[Ad] revenue should be shared with developers," he continued. "This should be built into YouTube. Anything else is basically piracy."

He went on to state that "If you generate money from putting my content on your channel, you owe me money. Simple as that," lamenting the fact that someone could "buy Fez, put ALL of it on YouTube, turn on ads, make money from it and that's TOTALLY FINE." He complained that there were systems in place to prevent people doing this with movies, but not with video games.

Fish has since subsequently made his account private, and then deleted it all together, no doubt due to the torrent of people spamming his Twitter with disagreements. Fortunately, GameSpot managed to save the quotes before the account went down.

It's not a great way for someone who is already somewhat disliked by the gaming community to present himself, as an earlier attempt by Nintendo to stop YouTube videos of its games was met with very harsh criticism.

Last we heard from Fish, he had cancelled the development of Fez II and quit the games development industry (though an April Fools Day announcement claimed he had returned to game development).

Source: GameSpot

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*sigs then looks around for his popcorn* i am gona get so fat from eating popcorn watching all the drama thats been going on lately

so much for being "done" in anycase

Oh......Phil Fish is actually still alive?

I haven't heard anything from him in a while, and now this happens.

Oh Phil, crazy crazy Phil.....

I'll just quote myself from a previous thread about this exact same topic, my stance remains unchanged:

Oh Phil... I was starting to like you just a little bit after watching Indie Game: The Movie, but damn if it isn't extremely easy to dislike you.

To me, a live stream or an LP isn't completely about the game itself, sometimes I watch these to make a better and more informed decision about buying or playing this game or not, but sometimes I watch these for the other half that counts, the YouTuber/Live Streamer.

To me, these guys are entertainers, I could watch two LP's of the same game with two entirely different people and get mostly different reactions or commentaries.

Though I guess that playing Fez is boring as fuck, that's an exception I'd make to simply watch the damned thing instead of playing it.

Even when "retired" Phil can't help but open his mouth and say something profoundly stupid. Nothing ever changes.

People go on and on and on about how games are different than EVERYTHING else because of the interaction, yet as soon as you take the interaction out,and show people they treat it like you are robbing the developers of the money that comes from said interaction. Games industry bullshit at its finest.

Fish ain't the first and won't be the last.

I find it amusing that instead of seeing it as "Free Advertising" he sees it as "WAHHHHHHHHH! Someone is watching my game! They might decide to buy it in future but I'm not getting money now! WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!"

Dude, if your game is so boring that someone watching your game can get the same experience as if they were playing it(and thus doesn't need to bother playing it), you've got bigger problems then people using pieces of your game to make a video.
Last I checked, you don't own Square-Enix *rimshot*.

I probably should be relieved he's not making any more games. I already own fez and won't have to worry about buying anything else from him.

Phil Fish will leave the industry, but his opinions never will. The sad irony is it was his opinions that were never welcome in the first place, not the man.

I think the bigger problem was that this was on Twitter, which means the argument isn't exactly going to be detailed and nuanced.

I do understand where he is coming from though, having exploited it myself, and there are certain kinds of videos that feel like they're exploiting the format. To do this, though, we need to differentiate what kinds of videos are out there. I have made three broad categories to best describe them:

1) Short clips. These are the most common and most viewed, as they contain short bursts of the gameplay, usually no more than a few minutes, either to demonstrate something (how to do x), review a game or just to show something brief and entertaining.

2) First impressions/vertical slices. These are videos containing long (20 min+), uncut segments of gameplay, usually right in the beginning or in the middle of the game, where the purpose is to essentially show what the game looks like when it is being played (totalbuscuit, for example). While substantial amounts of the game are revealed, the purpose is to demonstrate the various elements of the game and not to show a complete playthrough.

3) The Full Game. These are your "let's play" video series,' often spanning several hours and videos. They contain essentially from beginning to end of the entire game, often with commentary. But here's where I get really concerned.

With the first two, the creativity of the video makers is on display, with the selections very carefully chosen to convey certain specific elements. With the last one, it varies heavily by video. Some videos have barely any addition other than simply viewing the game as played by the video maker, often with sparse comments just to make the series legal, particularly in linear story games (survival horror is what I tend to view). And this is where I think videos cross the line. The video is not being watched, in that case, to determine whether to buy the product or for the commentary, but rather clearly to have watch the game being played as is, no different than watching a friend play in your living room. And this understandably will frustrate a developer who feels like the video maker is getting paid for what is overwhelmingly his own content.

What's this? Phil Fish being a loud-mouthed twit that shuts everything down and goes off to Hermitsville the moment a vast majority of people disagree with him? Cool, I died in Dark Souls a few times today.

Not that I can't see where he's coming from with his comments, but for someone that claims to be retired and want nothing to do with the industry after his last internet explosion, he sure seems to have alot of opinions about everyone connected to the industry that provide free advertising combined with a player's review of the game half the time.

I don't think he has a problem with gameplay videos, rather the people who make gameplay videos as their primary source of income. He spent a shitload of time to make Fez, got a sizeable windfall from its success, but now he sees a bunch of people just playing video games and earning roughly as much as he did. Also, many of these video folk produce work of let's say "debatable" quality.

I'm not saying I agree with his sweeping youtube economic reform, but I do see where he's coming from.

Does he really expect me to buy all of the consoles so I can play all of the games I'm interested in? If it weren't for walkthroughs, I wouldn't have seen Alan Wake or Legend of Zelda. So, buzz off Fish.

I'm going to use the ugly word.

"Entitlement"

The funny thing about that word is that it's become a slang term for a sarcastic opposite of its meaning. Slang is weird that way. Still, regardless of its actual use, Fishy has issues with it, big time. Youtubers AND Youtube itself has enough problems without some mouthy twit pulling on the money tag again.

Phil, why are you such a douche? This is something you can't win man, plus you're on the wrong side.

We can do whatever the hell we like with the stuff we bought on the computers we own, and we can share it with whomever we like. Anything you say to the contrary just makes you look like a delusional corporate suck-up.

It's so sad to see the creator of one of the few games I genuinely see as great to be such an asshole. So disappointing.

"Hey look it's me, why arn't you crying out for me to come back any more? Don't you love me?"

go away Phil, there maybe a point burried in their, but your whining and moaning is detracting from it!

el derpenburgo:
I don't think he has a problem with gameplay videos, rather the people who make gameplay videos as their primary source of income. He spent a shitload of time to make Fez, got a sizeable windfall from its success, but now he sees a bunch of people just playing video games and earning roughly as much as he did. Also, many of these video folk produce work of let's say "debatable" quality.

I'm not saying I agree with his sweeping youtube economic reform, but I do see where he's coming from.

The ones with debatable quality aren't earning as much money as Fish got from making Fez.

For once that guy said something that has a point. Of course the way he said it will create tornadoes on the webs, as usually.

BTW didn't he at one point thank pirates for playing Fez?

Might want to add to article that right after a few people told him he was full of shit he deleted his twitter again, dont know if he started it again but last i checked its was gone

https://twitter.com/PHIL_FISH

Just in case it changes again after i post this.

Well we all can't have hits mister Fish, so go suck an egg or something. By my understanding, nobody besides PewDeePie or the other big Youtubers makes serious amounts of bank off their videos. Generally any video that people put up is free advertising, people see the game and get commentary on whether it's worth buying or not. Demanding royalties is just a great disincentive to stop people from talking about or bringing attention to it.

On one hand people should harass people for having an idea, but all the while, it's a better idea to step back and think about what your saying. Say shit and you get hit.

Man, maybe I should make stupid comments then everybody will get to see my game(s)... Hitler was Right! *Swimming in the money and appraisal.

I'll start off by saying I'm not fan of Fish. He's abrasive in how he deals with conflict and brings out the worst in himself and other people when he opens his mouth. I generally let people's work speak for them, but when they insist on being louder, I change my point of view. Fez is great: he is not.

That said, I think a lot of people are more hung up on how he transmitted his message rather than the message itself. How can you justify monetizing someone else's work? If it's not a parody or doesn't fall under fair use, if it's not attributed and the artist is not remunerated with a percentage of the revenue you make (ya know the kind often found in contracts), how is that anything but theft? Yes you may have put work into your product, but your source material is not your own. It's just like plagiarizing an term paper, only yo're getting paid for it.

It's hard to show how bad this practice is because there isn't a good tangible analogue in the world to relate to, with the possible exception of music or theatre. Artists have "sampled" others' work and added it to their own, but have run into problems when they did get permission (see Vanilla Ice vs. Queen/ David Bowie). Another example is the un-authorized reproduction of play scripts/ production of unlicensed plays. I worked at my university's theatre department and it was a real chore to have to explain to an amateur or student group why it was illegal to a. photocopy a play script (some scripts can be, some can't: it depends on the licencing) b. perform a play without the permission of the rights holders and c. to charge money for the play's performance while committing a. and b. (that's suuuper illegal). Yes it is your own production, but your production of someone else's work.

Bottom line, Fish is a jerk but he's not entirely wrong in saying that plagiarism + money= theft.

Meh. Famous Let's Players and the like are drawing people to those games. This is especially the case for indie titles which don't have as much publicity as major titles tend to do. So I'd say he mostly has this backwards.

Also, he seems to have a bit of a penchant for pissing people off.

image

I think the man feeds on controversy.

He has a point though, sort of. I'd be in favor of youtube implementing this, but with a ludicrously small percentage. Say, <1%

There have been games that I've watched streamed or lets played that, once completed, I never-ever will buy. Even though I would've bought and enjoyed playing if I hadn't seen the ending. Now, for every one of those games there's ten that I saw streamed and then went and bought for myself, so on the whole, streaming is still free advertising.

But, just like piracy, I imagine it also causes a loss in sales at the same time it causes an increase. Maybe that's why he phrased it like that.

Why was anyone even paying attention to his twitter anyway? He's left gaming.

He should be ignored, his statements are baseless and have no grounds to stand on while the opposite; that LPs help game sales has much support. You don't even need to look past comments in videos to see people asking where, how much or flat out saying "I bought this game because of you" hell, people go post on LPs "This game is on steam sale right now! Get it quick!"

Companies have sent LPers games to play, they KNOW it helps sell games or at the very least get word around.

So, the guy has nothing to back up his flimsy statements, so his words are worthless. He's an egotistical whiny baby who wants more money after screwing people out of theirs previously, and members of his dev team for FEZ2.

The only response worth giving to him is a slap to the face and tell him to do some actual research before opening his stupid mouth.

In Indie Game: The Movie doesn't he say he isn't in it for the money (said whilst he wasn't making any) and yet now he's complaining about not getting every penny he can?

I'm curious as to whether this was a real post by him or if he is really just a massive idiot who can't not rattle peoples' cages. He'd done a good job of fucking off when he quit and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to just reemerge and complain about youtubers when he could have done so a few months ago when Nintendo were on the warpath against video footage of their games.

Oh Fish. Between you and cliff bleszinski I think I could design a table top bored game based on the quotes you two have made. And no, I would pay you for it.

The Gentleman:
I think the bigger problem was that this was on Twitter, which means the argument isn't exactly going to be detailed and nuanced.

I do understand where he is coming from though, having exploited it myself, and there are certain kinds of videos that feel like they're exploiting the format. To do this, though, we need to differentiate what kinds of videos are out there. I have made three broad categories to best describe them:

1) Short clips. These are the most common and most viewed, as they contain short bursts of the gameplay, usually no more than a few minutes, either to demonstrate something (how to do x), review a game or just to show something brief and entertaining.

2) First impressions/vertical slices. These are videos containing long (20 min+), uncut segments of gameplay, usually right in the beginning or in the middle of the game, where the purpose is to essentially show what the game looks like when it is being played (totalbuscuit, for example). While substantial amounts of the game are revealed, the purpose is to demonstrate the various elements of the game and not to show a complete playthrough.

3) The Full Game. These are your "let's play" video series,' often spanning several hours and videos. They contain essentially from beginning to end of the entire game, often with commentary. But here's where I get really concerned.

With the first two, the creativity of the video makers is on display, with the selections very carefully chosen to convey certain specific elements. With the last one, it varies heavily by video. Some videos have barely any addition other than simply viewing the game as played by the video maker, often with sparse comments just to make the series legal, particularly in linear story games (survival horror is what I tend to view). And this is where I think videos cross the line. The video is not being watched, in that case, to determine whether to buy the product or for the commentary, but rather clearly to have watch the game being played as is, no different than watching a friend play in your living room. And this understandably will frustrate a developer who feels like the video maker is getting paid for what is overwhelmingly his own content.

Yeah I think he has a point kind of. I mean I understand the idea of his problem but the medium of video games is unique from movie by being interactive. Also if video games can be equated to movies in this manner than they are very shitty movies. The pacing is mostly watching someone do the same things over and over and often if there is a plot it's probably not going to be War and Peace. Personally how I use lets plays is first to see how the game is without the filter of a journalist playing fifteen to an hour of gameplay than writing about it in a article. See it first hand compared to print is really different. The second way I use lets plays is to see how other players are playing the game while I play it. I do this for Crusader Kings 2, Darksouls, and Victoria specifically.
I personally see games saved by lets plays and the industry clearly agrees for the most part with PS4 and Xbone including recording options. I mean Amnesia and Darksouls wouldn't of become the mega hits they are without them and Minecraft I don't think would of been nearly as much of a mind blowing hit. I understand that he's not arguing lets plays should be banned but this I think would lead to industry controlling who gets to see and talk about their game. Like the NFL with the Super Bowl aka the big game.
The only games I see harmed by this are the games that are really wanting to be movies like CoD single players, as well as perhaps games that want tip and tricks to be talked about by kids in the cafeteria and not just shown in videos of "Hey this is exactly what you need and how to get to this secret".But this is unprovable as well, like the game industry insisting pirates hurt their bottom line absolutely but unable to prove it.

The problem is, he is right, and I say this as a maker of videos (ones that get a total of 10 views each but that's not the point). All of the arguments saying that the devs already have their money are predicated on the idea that games change depending on the person playing them, which is true.

But the art assets, the sounds and the way the game works doesn't.

If you remix a song or make a parody of it , the original song creator is due a cut of the money made from it, because you still used part of there work. It should be no different here REGARDLESS of how its being used. Doesn't matter if its for a review, a lets play or a speedrun, you are still using their game. People always shout free advertising but the YouTubers that say that should think about what they mean by that, as if its really free advertising they are admitting that they have no creditability. For it to be advertising the developer has to have a hand in how its presenting, in making sure that its presented in a good way to show there product how they want it to be seen, they don't have that with the youtubers.

If they say they are giving free EXPOSURE then I would agree, but that's a different thing. I would also expect when you say that people would be more likely to say "ok so why don't you give the dev some of your cash".

Oh and the idea that game devs should pay youtubers for the extra sales the youtubers make, thats one step away from "pay us money to show us your game, you will tend to make x% extra sales" level of dickbaggery. Youtubers are getting there money, building the fanbase and the big ones also have there own fan stores as well.If they want to sign up for a commission based store then go ahead, but make it obvious you are making money if you click the link under the video. This already happens for some.

The idea that the game dev should take a "big" cut is a bit silly however, but they really should get a cut, and this is irregardless of what you feel about Phil Fish, its like the CliffyB stuff on reddit yesterday about NeoGaf. Just because you don't like the guy doesn't mean hes wrong all the time.

In England even the Tories manage to do something sensible now and again, even if that is once in a blue moon.

Said 2013's most mentally stable game developer...

Aside from the fact that Fish can't shut up even after he's taken his ball and gone home: why should it come out of the share of the people making videos? The lion's portion of ad revenue goes to Youtube, so surely if anyone should be ponying up for some extra funds to developers it should be them.

First, i belong to the group that is convinced that YouTube Let's plays help sell the games.
Now, you could divide the issue into two groups. Developers that need the money and dev that don't need the money.
Let me explain:

I do not believe that Let's Plays hurt sales. If I see a game played, I know quite soon if I would buy it myself. I have stopped watching videos because i went and bought the game myself.
The only case where youtube might hurt sales is in BAD GAMES.
So as long as you as a developer have a big publisher machinery behind you, you don't need the money that may come in from youtube. Apart from a few well earning personas, it is not THAT much anyway. It won't make a dent in the devs pocket and beeing an advocatus diaboli, in this case the money would go to the publisher anyway.
Since Youtube (and piracy btw) provenly HELP sales, every sold game is good for the dev because the publisher considers him worth more. In Effect, the free exposure from youtube helps the developer more that a little bit of money would.

The other side are indie devs where every cent may be important. I could see a making a deal in this case. But again, the free exposure of the games without a big publishing machinery behind them, without a million dollar ad budget, can only help, too.

Last but not least, please consider that most people that watch Let's Plays would not buy the game ANYWAY. They are little kids with no disposable income, the watch because of the Host not the game (that is mostly what I do). Add to that the console and hardware barrier and you do not have a big loss because people who have watched a let's play wont buy the game. It is miniscule.

SO, the most important argument is the fairness one I guess. Yes, if you use music from a band publicly you have to pay for it (what is exactly what many people do, even on youtube)
But Games are different, because you dont experience them if you watch someone else play it. You don't play the game.
But in the end, I truly believe that Youtubers bring more value to the industry than they supposedly take away. All big consoles, tons of games have now twitch integration or video sharing. A lot of people who sit high up believe in the positive effects.

At the end, Phil Fish is wrong and it was a BAD idea to post such unpopular opinions to twitter of all places.
He has not even made an argument, because of the way he delivered it.

edit: after the youtube fodder episode, this could be a good topic for JimSterlings Jimquisition!

PH3NOmenon:

But, just like piracy, I imagine it also causes a loss in sales at the same time it causes an increase.

This idea never seemed to make sense to me. Copyright is about increasing the industry's profitability, and not about "avoiding losses", as if there existed a fixed amount of inherent incomes that copyright merely "restored".

Is the industry earning more money due to Let's Play's existence, or less? If it's the former, then there is no meaningful way to talk about "losses" at the same time.

If a video game series goes through an art shift, and the next installment sells 2 million units instead of the usual 1 million, there is no sense talking about how it "lost 200k potential sales but then it earned 1.2m new", because it's all just hypothetical guesses, the actual increase is the only real or relevant thing.

The same applies for how content access changes buying behaviors. Sales are either increased, or decreased, but it can't really be both at the same time.

His argument fails because video games are interactive, just because you watched a walkthrough or let's play does not mean that you get the full experience, so unless YouTube makes it possible to play walkthroughs and lets plays its not theft and it's not piracy.

With that said I don't think it's unreasonable that people who monetize gaming videos pay money to the developers, I disagree with the idea that it should be a large part of their income, 10% would be much more fair and reasonable.

Oh Phil, I might disagree with you, but thanks for being honest and speak your mind :-)

There is a problem though with story driven games though. I have skipped games that I might otherwise have bought, after watching a youtuber play it.

"If you generate money from putting my content on your channel, you owe me money. Simple as that"
Except I already gave you money, Philippe. Because I bought your shitty game.
Please stay gone, prick.

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