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Phil Fish says YouTubers are essentially pirates

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PhullFish

Fez designer Phil Fish is no stranger to controversy. Last year, after a visit from the Drama Llama, he exploded after somebody on the internet called him a whiny moaner, and he proved just how whiny he was by cancelling the development of Fez 2. Now he’s making waves again, by saying that YouTubers owe him money.

Say what you will about the YouTube phenomenon, but they’re the new prima form of entertainment. Young people would rather watch a bunch of idiots talk rubbish on YouTube than watch TV, and in many ways they’re replacing traditional media – even games media as the go-to sources of information. 

Many developers and publishers have embraced this, realising that these YouTubers account for increased sales. When a large YouTube personality, such as PewDiePie play a game, people pay attention, and then actually go out and buy that game. PewDiePie makes $4m from his videos per year, without any sponsorship being taken in account, so a lot of people are watching his rambling. And Phil Fish thinks that PewDiePie owes him money.

In a series of now-deleted tweets captured by Gamespot, Fish likened YouTubers to pirates.

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

He went on to say:

"If you generate money from putting my content on your channel, you owe me money. Simple as that. If you buy a movie, are you then allowed to stream the entirety of it publicly for people to watch for free? No, because that’s illegal.

"Systems are in place to prevent that. But buy Fez, put ALL of it on YouTube, turn on ads, make money from it and that’s TOTALLY FINE. And the developer should in NO WAY be compensated for their work being freely distributed to the world. Right. Makes sense."

The difference between games and movies, obviously, is that there’s no player agency in film; it’s entirely passive. With games, people get to experience the joys of playing things themselves afterwards. The other thing that I think Fish fails to realise is that that people aren’t watching people like PewDiePie for the games that he plays; they’re watching for his reaction to those games.

Last Updated: June 19, 2014

59 Comments

  1. Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

    June 19, 2014 at 12:06

    I should start a youtube channel….
    1. To piss this man off
    2. To rant and vent
    3. $$$$$$
    4. Rant some more
    5. $$$$$$$$$$$$

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

      June 19, 2014 at 12:06

      I have plenty games on my backlog to do this…

      HAI

      Reply

    • HisDivineOrder

      June 19, 2014 at 15:12

      You should start the, “Hate Me Fish, Nothing But Fez” Channel.

      You just collect footage of people playing Fez and put it up constantly. In the background, you could put like blackened cardboard cutouts of people (aka MST3k) and mock the gameplay.

      Invariably calling Fish an idiot every 2-3 minutes. Keep it random so he’ll never know when the next slam will come.

      I imagine him beating his face into a table somewhere.

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

        June 19, 2014 at 15:26

        Heh, indeed. Sounds like a plan

        Reply

      • AceZero911

        June 19, 2014 at 17:03

        You can even double up your content by filming people watching footage of Fez.

        Reply

  2. Viking Of GabeN

    June 19, 2014 at 12:06

    Phil Fish Needs to Chill, He made ONE game people like, and it gave him a God complex and verbal Diarrhea…. I will Not Buy Fez to give this socially inept Manchild any money….

    Reply

    • Corrie Botha

      June 19, 2014 at 14:36

      Still wanna buy but isn’t a priority of mine , but yeah guys got some issues that he needs to sort out, I think of him as the crazy old dude standing on the side of the street screaming things that nobody cares to listen to.

      Reply

  3. Johan Heymans

    June 19, 2014 at 12:10

    I disagree. The guy streaming his game is in a way doing free advertising for him so it will be pretty stupid to start charging people that do it as you will essentially lose out on marketing.

    Almost everytime I want to buy a game I first check out some gameplay on YouTube to make sure that it delivers its promise.

    Reply

    • Viking Of GabeN

      June 19, 2014 at 12:11

      Reviewtech USA made the same point: http://youtu.be/_tw7gYYo6G0

      Reply

      • Eric

        June 19, 2014 at 12:47

        His eyebrows look kinda like tiny mustaches on his glasses

        Reply

        • Viking Of GabeN

          June 19, 2014 at 13:02

          Oh Snap, He has reached the sought after level of Alpha Hipster!

          Reply

    • J_Joestar

      June 19, 2014 at 22:23

      Personally i find there are a wide variety of people with different reactions though.
      I like to check out some gameplay myself before buying, but i know some people (my brother for one) who almost never buy a game they have watched a “Lets Play” of, regardless of how hyped they were for it before or after watching. They’ll sing it’s praises as if they have played it, but never actually touch the real deal.

      At most though, it may be dependent on the type of game as well, something very story oriented will simply lose a major portion of it’s impact once you’ve seen it, but games that are grounded more on sheer gameplay quality wont be impacted negatively.

      Reply

  4. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    June 19, 2014 at 12:23

    I guess it’s time they unleash Marcus Beer on Phil Fish again. It’s time for the Fishy one to disappear with a huff again.

    Reply

  5. Monado

    June 19, 2014 at 12:25

    Sies….Phil Fish

    Reply

  6. Rince&exhale

    June 19, 2014 at 12:25

    Does he fail to compute that he is getting free advertising?

    Reply

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      June 19, 2014 at 12:27

      1) Makes one successful game
      2) Transforms into a Diva
      3) Believes opinion on anything is gospel

      Wait.. are we talking about Phil Fish or Cliffy B?

      Reply

      • Rince&exhale

        June 19, 2014 at 12:28

        Carrot!

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          June 19, 2014 at 12:49

          Excellent Jazz Jackrabbit reference.

          Reply

      • Gavin Mannion

        June 19, 2014 at 12:44

        To be fair Phil was a diva before even releasing his game.. he’s just an annoyance

        Reply

        • Rince&exhale

          June 19, 2014 at 13:24

          He still got you blocked on twitter? 😛 Oh, that’s Cliffy 😉

          Reply

          • Kensei Seraph

            June 19, 2014 at 13:26

            Who is this Cliffy that you guys keep mentioning? :

          • Rince&exhale

            June 19, 2014 at 13:26

            Dude who made Gears of War.

          • Kensei Seraph

            June 19, 2014 at 13:40

            I always just assumed Gears of War just sort of amalgamated out of thin air.

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            June 19, 2014 at 13:51

            Gears of War 2, 3 and Judgement did sor of amalgamate out of hot air…. :/ (I still love Gears of War 1 though)

          • Rince&exhale

            June 19, 2014 at 13:52

            Well, that and the left over cuts from your local butcher.

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            June 19, 2014 at 13:58

            Sadly, that kind of explains Gears 3 and Judgement… 🙁

  7. Rince&exhale

    June 19, 2014 at 12:28

    Full of fish

    Reply

    • Gregoric

      June 21, 2014 at 04:53

      Filet-o-Fish

      Reply

      • Gregoric

        June 21, 2014 at 04:57

        add the photo whore of a website

        Reply

      • Gregoric

        June 21, 2014 at 04:57

        add the photo whore of a website

        Reply

  8. Monado

    June 19, 2014 at 12:28

    Old fish and chips

    Reply

  9. Alex Hicks

    June 19, 2014 at 12:30

    Great choice of header image, the pun on his name; and the penis shape of the header fish matching exactly to Phil being a dickhead. Genius. +1

    Reply

  10. Alien Emperor Trevor

    June 19, 2014 at 12:32

    How am I suppose to take him at his word when he still hasn’t killed himself after promising to so many times?

    Reply

    • Kensei Seraph

      June 19, 2014 at 12:36

      You might have him confused with someone slightly more memorable.

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        June 19, 2014 at 12:38

        I don’t think so. He’s the guy who’s lucky that stupidity does not literally burn you.

        Reply

  11. Joe Black

    June 19, 2014 at 12:46

    What a louse. How can an indie game developer complain about free publicity? Total idiot. Obviously a screw or two loose.

    Reply

  12. Kromas

    June 19, 2014 at 12:51

    Who is Phil Fish?

    Reply

    • Kensei Seraph

      June 19, 2014 at 12:53

      Someone who made a Fez, a good indie game, who is now the most important person within the gaming industry (apparently).

      Reply

      • Kromas

        June 19, 2014 at 12:54

        Sorry … Forgot to emote that sentence. 🙂

        Reply

  13. Fugly Gamer

    June 19, 2014 at 13:09

    He loves making his name tottie (if he ever had a tottie)

    Reply

  14. Nathan Watson

    June 19, 2014 at 13:20

    Someones broke, needs money……………..HAHAHAHA suck it up princess

    Reply

  15. Johan Heymans

    June 19, 2014 at 13:45

    I believe the true reason is that the guy doing YouTube videos is probably getting more money than his game is getting him and he could not afford to pay developers to make a sequel and that is probably the true reason for cancelling its development.

    This guy is so Mad! 😀

    Reply

  16. Martin du preez (D4RKL1NGza)

    June 19, 2014 at 13:46

    Isn’t this the little girl that cancelled his game and left the industry because the media hurt his wittle feelings?

    Reply

  17. Brian Murphy

    June 19, 2014 at 14:03

    “”If you generate money from putting my content on your channel, you owe me money. Simple as that. If you buy a movie, are you then allowed to stream the entirety of it publicly for people to watch for free? No, because that’s illegal.”

    Except the folks going to these channels, aren’t there primarily for your content. They’re there for the interpretation by someone that they’ve come to trust, like, enjoy, insert whatever favorable adjective you prefer, of that content.

    And you know, it’s actually developers fault. We can’t trust them to be open, and honest about their work anymore. We can’t trust that every journalist is playing on the up and up. We didn’t start this bullshit, developers and the hyperbolic, highly antagonizing, and in some cases bought, media did.

    If consumers can’t get straight information from developers or normal news channels, they will come up with new ways to do so. This is one such method. And yeah, folks like PewDiePie make a ton of money, and I think that’s probably the extreme end of that scale. I would say the vast majority make next to nothing.

    Reply

  18. frikkenator

    June 19, 2014 at 14:15

    You had an article a while back about Ken Levine saying that indie devs are over-entitled. This guy proves that.

    He has also shown that he knows nothing about business or marketing.

    Reply

  19. UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

    June 19, 2014 at 14:35

    Through all of this he does seem to make a point… They are directly making money off of his work. Hmmmmm… Conundrum

    Reply

    • Corrie Botha

      June 19, 2014 at 14:39

      Still theres also the point of arguement where developers basically find success off these videos , a game that slipped under the rader and played by someone like TB can easily boost sales.

      Reply

      • UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

        June 19, 2014 at 14:42

        Definitely a valid point and I think that is what he is chancing.

        I think the choice should lay with the developer to choose whether he wants them to pay part their profits to him or not then? Seeing that certain games will pull more add revenue than others they might actually choose to share.

        He isn’t completely in the wrong here. His attitude sucks though which makes most people very negative towards him.

        Reply

        • Corrie Botha

          June 19, 2014 at 14:57

          It’s actually very similar to that incident where Youtubers were asking devs for money if I recall correctly, but yeah I see what your saying ,although I can see a dev’s response of having to pay a portion to steam,GOG,Humble etc then paying thses channels but also fear that some will take it as a way to buy “space” on these channels aswell as comments about the game.

          I don’t watch these lets plays I’d rather do it myself(I prefer learning something on youtube instead),but I do know many people around the world do base their purchase on these vids.

          This as such is a very open ended debate , would like to see arguements from both sides of the fence on which devs agree and disagree aswell as youtubers who I’m sure are against losing a profit.

          Reply

  20. HisDivineOrder

    June 19, 2014 at 15:10

    He’s no longer a game developer. Why does anyone care what he thinks about anything? People shouldn’t have cared before, given how much of an idiot he’s always been, but certainly now that he’s retreated from making games, shouldn’t we be ignoring him completely?

    He seems completely irrelevant.

    Reply

  21. Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

    June 19, 2014 at 15:34

    Ok… I am going to try and remain calm….

    Phil.

    Point 1: There are laws and rules in place that allow people to review games and include snippets of it in videos or screenshots for the purpose of the review without needing to pay the designer of said game.

    Point 2: If you go by the logic that someone like PewDiePie owes you money because he has made money by doing a form of review of your game then by that logic every gaming magazine, website, etc; that ever did a review of your game owes you money. This is simply stupid and I refer you back to point 1 which is in place to stop that kind of extortion from developers /publishers.

    Point 3: If people enjoy what they see, your sales go up. It’s free advertising. Which you didn’t need to pay for. So instead of biting the hand(s) that feed why not try taking it as a compliment that anyone would even want to do a “Let’s Play” or review of your game.

    Seriously dude. Chillax and stop making waves like this. It can’t be good for your image in the gaming market.

    Reply

    • J_Joestar

      June 19, 2014 at 22:09

      While i agree he is overreacting, i would want to state that the snippets and clips from a review is a very different thing from streaming an entire game.

      Reply

      • Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

        June 20, 2014 at 07:52

        Fair enough. However, games are an interactive medium. If PewDiePie was allowing his viewers to actually play the game then I’d understand.

        But watching gameplay and actually playing it yourself (which is what it was created for. It aint a movie) is a very different thing. So I still believe the guy is barking up the wrong tree.

        Reply

        • J_Joestar

          June 20, 2014 at 17:00

          I think that also largely depends on the game.
          Some are very story oriented and scripted in which a let’s play could easily sate someone’s interests in the game, while some that are more gameplay oriented are more likely to benefit from showing off the gameplay.

          It is like my brother who bought and played the first Batman Arkham game and was super hyped about the others, but hasn’t gotten them after watching full Lets Plays of them. It isn’t like he is disappointed after watching the LPs, he still loves and praises them but just wont bother buying them.

          Reply

  22. Mark Treloar

    June 19, 2014 at 18:52

    Phil Fish and Nintendo should get a room.

    Reply

  23. brad coetzee

    June 20, 2014 at 15:18

    I totally understand his argument but wonder how is games would do without that extra exposure.

    Reply

  24. Gregoric

    June 21, 2014 at 04:50

    Phil Fish is a bit of an idiot. He compares it to movies, so does he believe Fox or any other TV Station pays movies companies for the ad revenue they make while they are showing one of their movies. TV Stations pay for broadcasting rights, and then all revenue from ads is their to keep. Let’s Play YouTube Gamers purchase a game, and then play a game adding their own commentary to keep things entertaining, so all ad revenue they earn is their own, as they have already paid for the game, so thus have the rights to use it under “Fair Use”.

    Reply

  25. pillybilly

    November 14, 2014 at 10:35

    i have no idea how this guy can talk after he made only ONE BUGGED AND CRAPPY game in his life and overall i don’t understand why sites speakes about him and idiots like him.

    Reply

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