A cursory review of our posts on Nintendo will reveal a company all too willing to wield intellectual property purely as a way to combat anything it doesn’t like. The gaming giant jealously protects its IP, sure, but it also deploys its lawyers for such purposes as scaring the shit out of ROM sites, silencing YouTubers, shutting down fan-games from its biggest fans, and holding its consoles hostage unless customers agree to updated EULAs. Outside of Nintendo, many groups have tried to use copyright laws and the DMCA to combat leaks about content, or the content itself. This is rarely a good idea, what with the opportunity to use such leaks as free promotional material being an option instead.
Well, as you may have heard, Nintendo suffered its own high-profile leak recently, with the forthcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate finding its way onto the internet before the game has even been released. As you would expect, Nintendo got its lawyers busy firing off DMCA notices for all kinds of sites that were hosting the actual game that leaked. It also, however, decided to issue copyright strikes on YouTubers who showed any of the games content.
The YouTuber named Crunchii has been uploading new remixes from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to his channel over the past few days, which has drawn the ire of Nintendo. Crunchii’s channel has been hit with copyright strikes from Nintendo of America, which has caused him to be locked out of his account and will result in its termination over the next few weeks.
There is also a YouTuber named Dystifyzer, who also posted songs from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s soundtrack. He too has been hit with numerous copyright strikes from Nintendo and is expecting his YouTube channel to be gone by next week.
This is stupid on so, so many levels. First, combating leaks with copyright notices rarely works at all, never mind well. Once the bell has been rung on the internet, it’s nearly impossible to fully unring it. On top of that, going after YouTubers that are simply showing off the leaked product really only makes a ton of sense if you don’t have a ton of confidence in the quality of that product. If you believe the product is awesome, you should want it shown off, even prior to release. Hell, maybe especially just prior to release, as a way to hype the game even further and push more sales.
It’s worth noting both that pretty much everyone showing off this leaked content was expecting Nintendo to freak out over it, and that the leaked content itself isn’t terribly compelling.
The sad thing is that the leaked content from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate hasn’t been all that exciting – it’s mostly new music tracks and some new facets of the World of Light mode. There haven’t been any secret unannounced characters hiding in the code of the game that Sakurai was hoping to spring on the fans.
The reason why the World of Light mode doesn’t have as many cutscenes as the Subspace Emissary mode is due to how disappointed Sakurai was when all of the lovingly crafted FMV sequences were quickly uploaded to the Internet. The Super Smash Bros. Ultimate leak proves that he was right to reveal everything beforehand, as any secrets would have been spoiled just two weeks before the game was released.
Making it all the more head-scratching that Nintendo is going to these lengths to combat the showing of the leaked content. But, hey, Nintendo is gonna Nintendo, I suppose.