What Happened to Machinima?

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Written By Angelo Sorbello

Tech entrepreneur and passionate about business



While once a pioneering platform that revolutionized the use of real-time computer graphics, Machinima's rise and fall has been a subject of interest. However, it is important to note that the demise of Machinima was not solely due to a single factor.

Controversial hiring practices, failed revenue shares, and corporate changes all played a role.

This article delves into the timeline of events, key highlights, and possible factors behind Machinima's fading into obscurity.

Key Takeaways

  • Machinima forced creators into life contracts, which caused many to avoid the platform and led to bad press.
  • Many creators claim they were promised a share of YouTube advertising revenue that was never delivered.
  • Machinima's revenue decreased over time as YouTube favored individual creators over content networks.
  • Machinima was acquired by Warner Digital Networks, which was later acquired by AT&T, and eventually absorbed into Fullscreen, possibly due to corporate churn.

Machinima's Hiring Practices and Revenue Decrease

Machinima experienced a decline in revenue and faced scrutiny over its hiring practices. One of the major issues Machinima faced was its impact on content creators. The network forced creators into life contracts, giving Machinima perpetual rights to their content. This caused a backlash and negative press, leading many new creators to avoid the platform altogether.

Additionally, many creators claimed that they were promised a share of YouTube advertising revenue that was never delivered. However, Machinima's struggle with monetization was not solely due to its hiring practices. Some games could not be monetized due to copyrighted material, limiting the potential for revenue generation.

Furthermore, revenue decreased over time as YouTube began favoring individual creators over content networks like Machinima. Ultimately, these factors contributed to Machinima's decline in revenue and its difficulties with monetization.

Machinima's Acquisitions and Corporate Churn

During its lifespan, Machinima experienced a series of acquisitions and corporate churn that ultimately contributed to its decline in popularity and obscurity.

In 2016, Warner Digital Networks acquired Machinima for nearly $100 million. However, Warner Digital Networks was later acquired by AT&T. AT&T then announced that Machinima would be incorporated into Otter Media, a division of WarnerMedia.

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Confusion arose when the YouTube channel was shut down despite plans for content redistribution. Machinima was absorbed into Fullscreen, another WarnerMedia subsidiary.

This chain of acquisitions and corporate churn may have played a role in Machinima's decline, as the involved corporations may not have fully understood the platform's purpose and popularity. AT&T had previously shut down FilmStruck under similar circumstances, indicating a pattern of shutting down less profitable ventures.

Key Takeaways About Machinima

Throughout its lifespan, Machinima played a significant role in shaping YouTube culture and had a notable impact on the world of online entertainment. Founded in 2000, Machinima initially focused on using real-time computer graphics engines to create cinematic animations. It later expanded to include film, comic books, video game culture, and technology content. As an American online entertainment network, Machinima underwent a series of acquisitions and corporate churn, ultimately leading to its decline in popularity and eventual obscurity.

Machinima's forced life contracts for creators and its absorption into various subsidiaries under WarnerMedia, including Fullscreen, contributed to its downfall. These factors, coupled with the rise of individual creators and YouTube's preference for them, led to Machinima's fading into obscurity.

Machinima's Timeline and Key Highlights

Founded in 2000 by Hugh Hancock, Machinima quickly became a prominent online entertainment network. It focused on real-time computer graphics engines to create cinematic animations before expanding into film, comic books, video game culture, and technology content.

In 2006, Machinima launched a successful YouTube channel with 12.6 million subscribers, solidifying its influence on YouTube culture. However, the channel's abrupt shutdown in early 2019 led to the cessation of operations and job losses, indicating Machinima's decline.

Throughout its existence, Machinima had a significant impact on the gaming industry by showcasing the creative potential of video game engines for storytelling and entertainment. It popularized the concept of machinima, inspiring a generation of content creators to explore the intersection of gaming and filmmaking.

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Machinima's legacy continues to resonate within the gaming and online entertainment communities.

Machinima's Connection to AT&T's Strategy

AT&T's strategy played a significant role in Machinima's decline and eventual shutdown.

AT&T, known for its approach of shutting down less profitable ventures, acquired Warner Digital Networks, which in turn had acquired Machinima in 2016 for nearly $100 million.

AT&T announced plans to incorporate Machinima into Otter Media, a division of WarnerMedia. However, Machinima was ultimately absorbed into Fullscreen, another WarnerMedia subsidiary.

This corporate churn and lack of understanding of Machinima's purpose and popularity may have contributed to its fading into obscurity.

AT&T's previous shutdown of FilmStruck, which did not report significant revenue, further highlights its strategy of discontinuing ventures that do not generate substantial profits.

Unfortunately, Machinima was not immensely profitable and became a casualty of this approach.

Other Companies and Topics (Not Related to Machinima)

In this article titled 'What Happened to Machinima?', we now turn our attention to other companies and topics that are not related to Machinima.

  1. CNN Plus:
  • Launched on March 29, 2022.
  • Shut down one month after launch.
  • Parent company WarnerMedia merged with Discovery, and Discovery was unimpressed with viewer data and not interested in funding CNN+ due to its $55 billion debt.
  1. Clubhouse:
  • Social app for audio chat rooms.
  • Reached a peak valuation of $4 billion.
  • Declined in popularity after pandemic lockdowns ended, and the removal of the invite-only feature led to an influx of new members.
  • However, the management failed to define a sustainable business model.

Additionally, there are other companies and topics not related to Machinima, such as Facebook, Palm, Circuit City, Apple Maps, Digg, AOL, BlackBerry, and Juicero. These topics are not discussed further in this article.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Were Some of the Negative Consequences of Machinima's Life Contracts for Creators?

The negative consequences of Machinima's life contracts for creators included a lack of transparency and control over their content, as well as a loss of potential revenue from YouTube advertising. This led to bad press and new creators avoiding the platform.

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Did Machinima Deliver on Its Promise of Sharing Youtube Advertising Revenue With Creators?

Machinima's promise of sharing YouTube advertising revenue with creators was not fulfilled, leading to dissatisfaction and negative consequences such as a decline in content quality and exploitation of creators.

Why Did Youtube's Favoritism Towards Individual Creators Contribute to Machinima's Revenue Decrease?

The favoritism towards individual creators on YouTube contributed to Machinima's revenue decrease due to algorithm changes that prioritized individual content over network-based channels. Additionally, the rise of Patreon and crowdfunding provided alternative funding sources for creators, bypassing the need for networks like Machinima.

How Did Machinima's Acquisition by Warner Digital Networks and Later At&T Affect Its Operations?

The acquisition of Machinima by Warner Digital Networks and later by AT&T had a significant impact on its operations. Operational changes were implemented as Machinima was absorbed into different subsidiaries, possibly contributing to its eventual demise.

What Factors Led to Machinima's Fade Into Obscurity Under Various Subsidiaries?

Factors contributing to Machinima's fade into obscurity under various subsidiaries include forced life contracts, unfulfilled revenue sharing promises, and a decline in popularity due to the rise of alternative platforms for content creators.


In conclusion, Machinima's rise and fall can be attributed to a combination of factors. One factor was controversial hiring practices. Another factor was failed revenue sharing agreements. Additionally, a lack of clear direction during its acquisitions contributed to its downfall. The confusion surrounding its shutdown and content redistribution only added to its demise.

The story of Machinima serves as a cautionary tale about the challenges faced by online entertainment networks. It also highlights the importance of adaptability in a rapidly evolving industry.

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