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The decline and potential rebirth of Machinima

by Ian Roesler The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinion of Byte or Byte's editorial board. Machinima was a company that specialized in video game related content entertainment. Let’s start with a brief overview before detailing the decline. Machinima first began in the distant past of January 2000. The name comes from a portmanteau of “machine” and “cinema.” They had a popular Youtube channel that they started in the early days of Youtube. Machinima was important because they helped to popularize video game entertainment that was beyond just playing video games. Many famous Youtubers worked for Machinima, such as Darksyde Phil and Maximilian Dood. In addition they also had their own original shows. I highly recommend Mortal Kombat: Legacy. Check it out on Steam. Machinima was not without its controversies, however. The biggest controversy concerning Machinima was regarding the contracts its creators were under. Some of the stipulations in the contract that creators signed was that Machinima held the rights to the videos that content creators uploaded for life. Also, in the contract was that they could advertise on videos, but the creators got a percentage of the profits. So, that kinda evens it out in a way. Sure, you don’t have ownership of the content you worked hard to create, but you get a percentage of the profits. Always read your contracts carefully, folks. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="1275"] Image from Imgur[/caption] Currently Machinima has 12 million subscribers and all of its videos set to private. They were acquired by Warner in 2016, and just recently Warner was acquired by AT&T. Technically, Machinima was acquired by Otter Media which is owned by AT&T. But back to Machinima, the reason why all their videos have been set to private is that they stated that new content will be put up on new channels instead. Machinima was on a decline when they were bought. Understandably, creators were not happy. All that content just gone. I don’t have much experience managing a billion-dollar company. Just recently they laid off 81 employees. The website is still up and you can still apply for a job. Some of the perks include dental and activities led by the “Fun Police.” The way that things are it remains to be seen what will ultimately become of Machinima. However, I do have some theories as to what may happen. The first theory is that Machinima may go the way of the dodo. For reasons that I will discuss later, I believe that this one is the least likely. I don’t see much recent evidence to support this, if this is the case however, they must be doing some hardcore trolling before the end. My next theory is closely related to the first. Machinima will still exist, however it’ll exist in a sort of limbo. It’ll stay in its current state, never being updated. It’ll be just there, existing like a houseplant in a corner. This is the case of another former Internet big name: StumbleUpon. Nowadays, their website redirects to Mix, which is a similar website. This one I feel has more of a possibility of happening. Maybe Machinima will be forgotten amidst all the other companies that AT&T own. Which is seven major ones at the moment.

Image from Variety
The third and final theory is that Machinima will be rebranded or relaunched. I believe this to be the most likely of my theories. The first evidence to support this is that Machinima has changed their logo from their familiar red to a new green logo. I find it unlikely that a company going out of business would make the effort to change a logo. Albeit, weirder things have happened. Another piece of evidence I would like to mention, or more accurately, re-mention is that their videos still exist in a way. They were set to private for a cost-cutting matter. I imagine that it’d be a lot cheaper to either delete the videos or the channel itself. Or leave them up and continue to collect ad revenue, but potentially continue to pay the creators. Another thing, their Twitter feed was still being updated. As of today their last tweet was three days ago, but it appears that their account was deleted between then and now. Prior to deletion they had tweeted random letters of the alphabet. Also, Rooster Teeth announced that they are going to relaunch some of Machinima’s shows. Rooster Teeth is an entertainment company in a similar vein to Machinima. And guess what? They’re owned by Otter Media as well. So it looks like Machinima will exist in some form or another for the time being.
Sources: YouTube, Machinima, StumbleUpon, Internet ArchiveVariety, Images: ImgurVariety Featured Image: Tech Spot

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