Machinima, Inc.

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Machinima, Inc.
Industry Entertainment
Founded January 2000; 17 years ago (2000-01)
Founders Hugh Hancock
Headquarters Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Key people
Russell Arons (General Manager)[1]
Brands Inside Gaming
ETC News
Realm Games
Owner Time Warner
Parent Warner Bros. Digital Networks

Machinima, Inc. (/məˈʃnmə/ or /məˈʃɪnmə/) is a global YouTube network mostly focusing on gaming. Machinima has widespread availability across multiple platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, and through Android and Apple's iOS.[2] The company was founded in January 2000[2] by Hugh Hancock and is headquartered in Los Angeles, California.[3]

It originated as a hub for its namesake, machinima, videos that use and manipulate video-game technology to create animation,[4] as well as featuring articles on machinima and content about film and technology. Users used to be able to submit videos to be uploaded onto their website directly, however this feature has long been abandoned.

The website initially helped to bring attention to machinima as an art form and to encourage productions based on game engines other than those of id Software's first-person shooter computer game series Quake.[5] On October 12, 2016, sources told media sites that Warner Brothers was nearing a deal to acquire Machinima and its branded properties.[6] On November 17, 2016, Warner Brothers confirmed the news, thus making Machinima a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Bros. Digital Networks.[7][8]


Inside Gaming Awards 2011
2011 Inside Gaming Awards presented by Machinima

In December 1999, id Software released Quake III Arena. According to Paul Marino, executive director of the Academy of Machinima Arts & Sciences, film makers who had been using prior versions of the Quake series to record animated videos, then called "Quake movies", were initially excited, but the enthusiasm dampened when id announced that, in an attempt to curtail cheating in multiplayer games, it would take legal action against anyone who released details of Quake III's networking code, which was included in the game's game demo file format. This precluded the use of custom demo-editing tools that had facilitated the creation of videos that used the older Quake and Quake II demo file formats, slowing the release of new Quake movies. Another contributing factor to this decline was that the self-referential nature of the gaming-related situations and commentary of Quake movies was losing novelty. Marino explained bluntly that "the joke was getting old".[9] Therefore, the Quake movie community needed to reinvent itself.[10]

Machinima Versus, the latest addition to the prime Machinima network

In January 2000, Hugh Hancock launched, a resource for video makers who used computer and video games as a medium. The site's name was foreign to the Quake movie community. The term machinima was originally machinema, a portmanteau of machine and cinema. However, Hancock had misspelled the term in a previous email, and the new name stuck because he and Anthony Bailey, who had worked on Quake done Quick, liked the now-embedded reference to anime.[11]

The site opened with multiple articles, interviews, and tutorials, and was soon able to acquire exclusive releases of new productions. One such work, Quad God, was the first to use Quake III Arena and the first to be released in a conventional video file format instead of a demo file format exclusive to a certain game.[11] The switch to conventional media offended some machinima producers, but Quad God, by Tritin Films helped to introduce machinima to a wider audience[12] and to solidify's launch.[11] Matt Kelland, Dave Morris, and Dave Lloyd called the release of Quad God "a key moment in the development of machinima.[12] In turn, as became more popular throughout 2000, other game engines, such as that of Unreal Tournament, became the basis of new productions and the focus of new software tools for machinima.[11]


On 30 January 2006, Hancock announced his resignation as editor-in-chief of and that control of the site would be transferred to the staff of Machinima, Inc. Among the reasons cited for the change were differences in approach to the site and a desire to devote more time to Strange Company's 2006 machinima production BloodSpell. Hancock called the decision "possibly the biggest step I've taken since I founded Strange Company nearly nine years ago".[citation needed]

In May 2009, Machinima released Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series, a six-episode prequel to the 2009 film.[13] It was about the story of one of the characters named Blair Williams (voiced by Moon Bloodgood) and her story about her reaction to the apocalyptic war between machines and humans. It was also distributed by Warner Premiere, Wonderland Sound and Vision and The Halcyon Company. It is currently for download in iTunes, PlayStation Network and Amazon Video.[14]

Towards the end of 2010, Machinima revamped its website and removed the forums (wanting users to use the Facebook page instead), and the ability to upload videos. Since the revamp of their website, Machinima has shifted focus away from actual machinima content. The network now focuses on gamer lifestyle and entertainment programming, broadcasting solely through their YouTube channels.

In January 2012, Machinima discontinued podcast feeds on iTunes without an in-feed announcement. Back episodes remain available but no new episodes have appeared on the feed since moving to YouTube exclusively. In June 2012, Machinima partnered with Meteor Entertainment to promote Hawken, a highly anticipated free-to-play online game which was later released in December 2012.[15]

In the same month, Microsoft announced the inclusion of Machinima programming on Xbox Live during the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo.[16] In May 2012, Google invested $35 million into Machinima. It was the first time Google has openly backed a content company by taking an equity stake.[17] In December 2012, announced it was letting go of 23 staff from its workforce. Machinima said the lay-offs were due to re-organizing as part of its global growth strategy, but were still hiring in other key divisions whilst these layoffs were happening.[18]

In early 2014, the main channel briefly returned to uploading original machinima series and movies.[19] In March 2014, Warner Bros. led an $18 million round of funding for Machinima.[20] Around the same time, founder Allen DeBevoise stepped down as CEO and became the new chairman. Former Ovation COO Chad Gutsein was installed in his place. In November 2014, Machinima announced plans to rebrand their network, with a revamped logo and new tagline.[21]

In February 2015, the company raised an additional $42 million in funding led by Warner Bros. Machinima said that the additional funding would be used to accelerate growth through more investments in content and technology to better serve the firms audiences, advertisers, creators and distributors.[22]

On October 12, 2016, sources told media sites that Warner Brothers was nearing a deal to acquire Machinima and its branded properties.[6] On November 17, 2016, Warner Brothers confirmed the news, thus making Machinima a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Bros. Digital Networks.[7][8]


Machinima hosts thousands of videos on YouTube channels such as: Prime, Respawn, ETC, Realm, Sports, VS, and Trailers. Content uploaded onto these channels is produced in-house and by signed directors from around the world. Machinima also utilizes social media platforms such Facebook and Twitter to provide fans with timely news, featured uploads, interactive questions, and live event coverage. Machinima's has accounts for each of their network channels like the main Machinima channel which has over 1.7 million followers as of 2015[23]

Inside Gaming[edit]

Inside Gaming is the main editorial brand of Machinima.[24] Coverage of gaming news, previews, and reviews was provided for more than 600,000 weekly viewers through daily and weekly shows on its YouTube channel[24] hosted by then employee Adam Kovic under the alias "The Dead Pixel". He was often seen in Halo 3-themed machinima form in his lava-red Recon helmet.

Inside Gaming is the successor to Machinima's discontinued segment, Inside Halo, which was less successful because of the lack of news surrounding the Halo series. Inside Halo was developed and hosted by "Soda God" who alternated weekly hosting with Adam Kovic who became the only host. Eventually an official co-host, Matt Dannevik, joined Kovic on the set of Inside Gaming Daily; he was laid off in December 2012. Producers Bruce Greene and James Willems regularly co-hosted with Kovic, and have started their own YouTube channel under Inside Gaming.[25] Inside Gaming also hosted its own annual awards show, the "Inside Gaming Awards" in Los Angeles.[24] The awards show celebrates the biggest developers and achievements in the video-games industry,[24] and features top gaming choices by viewers and the staff of Inside Gaming. Categories in which games are selected include, among others: Game of the Year, Best Online Multiplayer, and Best Original Games.[26]

On January 26, 2015, Inside Gaming employees Adam Kovic, Bruce Greene, Lawrence Sonntag, Joel Rubin, Sean Poole, James Willems, and Matt Peake announced that they were leaving Machinima. The group is now known as Funhaus, a subsidiary of Rooster Teeth Productions.[27] On April 9, 2015, Matt Dannevik announced in a video that he would be returning to Machinima and taking over the Inside Gaming channel, with help from other members of Machinima.[28]

ETC News[edit]

ETC News, otherwise known as simply ETC, is Machinima's entertainment news show that started in 2010. The name originally stood for "Entertainment, Technology, Culture." It was originally hosted by Khail Anonymous, who later left the company in 2014 and currently works for Yahoo! News. Currently it is hosted by Machinima employees Ricky Hayberg and Eliot Dewberry.[29] Originally airing on the primary Machinima channel the show was moved to its own channel on June 30, 2016, though Ricky and Eliot still work for Machinima and the show is still owned by them. Daily content called ETC Daily is the main show, with weekly shows such as TechNewsDay (tech news, formerly Tech Tuesday, now airs usually on Wednesdays, obviously), Weekly Weird News (weird news stories, airs usually Thursdays or Fridays) TUGS, or the Totally Uninformed Gaming Show (gaming news through a satirical and ironic lens, airs on Fridays), News Dump (odd bits of movie and television news that don't fit into 'the daily', airs on Saturdays) and the ETC Podcast, a Sunday upload whose hosts included Ricky, Eliot and formerly Matty Sumida (now a producer at TMZ), and which has had guests including Dan Harmon & Justin Roiland, Mike Shinoda, Tony Hale, Ed Skrein, Elijah Wood, Kill The Noise, Verne Troyer, Alicia Malone, Kristian Harloff & Mark Ellis, and Dillon Francis.

Machinima Live[edit]

Machinima streams live frequently on their channels via Twitch including streaming of video gameplay events, convention coverage, and more; streams used to be viewable live YouTube on Machinima Live. Machinima Live also had 24-hour live streams such as one that took place in 2010 after the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops. Machinima staff, directors, and guests took part in playing the game in four-hour shifts in attempt to reach 15th prestige. A similar event also occurred after the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.[30] While the YouTube channel hasn't been active since February 4, 2015, Machinima still streams on Twitch regularly.

Machinima VS[edit]

In 2012, Machinima branched out to competitive side of gaming with the inclusion of Machinima VS a channel featuring event coverage from some of the world’s best players, teams, and casters with the highest level of gameplay.[31] It serves as Machinima's esports channel.

Machinima Respawn[edit]

On December 7, 2009, the Machinima Respawn channel was launched as Machinima's gameplay focused channel. It had a host of shows about games and related topics as well as the show Respawn hosted by Adam Montoya, Scott Robison, and Shaun Hutchinson. Inbox was a later show that gained a cult following for its comedy and the funny personalities of the hosts Scott Fisher and Scott Robison. At one point Machinima Respawn was the most subscribed channel on YouTube.[32] Due to budget cuts at Machinima, the lack of views of the newer programming on Respawn in later years, and the departure of Scott Robison, Shaun Hutchinson and Adam Montoya along with Scott Fisher, Machinima Respawn was discontinued, not having been active since February 22, 2015. It has since been absorbed into Machinima Realm, which was later renamed Realm Games.[33]

Realm Games[edit]

Originally launched as Machinima Realm, Realm Games is Machinima's gameplay focused channel. Originally only focusing on MMO, RTS, and other related games, it has since become Machinima's primary hub for all their gameplay content after the closure of Machinima Respawn. It is currently being managed by Machinima employee Shane, otherwise known as Shibby2142, and hosts a variety of content focusing on several different games, mostly Overwatch and League of Legends recently.

Original programming[edit]

Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series[edit]

In May 2009, Machinima released a six episode web animated series called Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series, a prequel set before the 2009 film Terminator Salvation. It is about the character Blair Williams (voiced by Moon Bloodgood) and her reaction to the apocalyptic war between machines and humans. The series was created using real-time computer animation from the Terminator Salvation video game.[34] It was also distributed by Warner Premiere, Wonderland Sound and Vision and The Halcyon Company.[citation needed]

Mortal Kombat: Legacy[edit]

On April 11, 2011, Machinima aired Mortal Kombat: Legacy, a live action series produced by Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Warner Premiere featuring Michael Jai White, Darren Shahlavi, and Jeri Ryan. Based on the Mortal Kombat series, Legacy succeeds the short film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, which takes place in an alternate universe. This series was aired exclusively on the Machinima YouTube channel and served over 60 million combined views.[35][36]

Bite Me[edit]

Bite Me: Season 2 red carpet event with Justin Giddings and Yousef Abu-Taleb

Bite Me was a two-season, web series released on December 31, 2010, about three gamers as they find themselves in the midst of a real life zombie outbreak. Relying only on the knowledge and skills they have gain from years of gaming, they drop the controller and pick up anything that can be used as a weapon. For the first season of the show, Machinima partnered with Microsoft and Capcom and accumulated over 14 million viewers. The second season was released on March 6, 2012, and was also aired on FEARnet, a horror cable network.[37]

Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist[edit]

On May 23 of 2014, Machinima aired Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist, a live action Street Fighter series produced by Capcom and created by Joey Ansah and Christian Howard who made the popular short film Street Fighter: Legacy, reprising their roles as Ken and Akuma from the film.[38][39]

Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles[edit]

In 2014, Machinima announced that they would air a three-part animated series titled Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles which would serve as a companion to the animated movie, Justice League: Gods and Monsters.[40] In May 2015, before the series even debuted, Machinima and DC Entertainment revealed that it had been renewed for a ten-episode second season to air in 2016.[41] The first season launched on June 8, 2015, over two weeks before the movie was released.[42]


In May 2015 it was revealed that Machinima, in co-development with Blue Ribbon Content and DC Entertainment is developing a live action adaptation of the DC Comics’ cult-favorite classic Dial H for Hero, called #4Hero. It is desrcibed as VFX-heavy action-comedy about a young woman named Nellie Tribble who gets her powers from a smartphone app that allows her to instantly become a Super Hero for a short period of time. Her super powers are dictated by whatever is trending on social media at that moment.[43]

DC’s Hero Project[edit]

DC’s Hero Project is a contest show developed by Machinima, Blue Ribbon Content, and DC Entertainment. The show is about finding "the next great creator for the world of DC Comics". It is described as a contest between eight competitors who compete in elimination challenges to develop a live-action short video based on their interpretations of the characters from DC Comics’ Starman series. One of the confirmed judges will be bestselling writer, and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer, Geoff Johns.[43]

Street Fighter: Resurrection[edit]

Street Fighter: Resurrection aired on Machinima exclusively on go90 in March 2016.[44][45]

Transformers: Combiner Wars[edit]

Transformers: Combiner Wars is an Internet-based animated series created by Machinima Inc. in partnership with Hasbro for the go90 Streaming media format from Verizon. As implied by the title, it is a branch of the Transformers franchise, specifically the Transformers: Generation 1 continuity family. It is based on the Combiner Wars toys as well as story line from IDW Publishing's The Transformers.[46]


Machinima developed a premium channel to feature quality content produced by network content creators along with major production companies and Hollywood studios known as Machinima Prime. Weekly shows that run on Prime include Life on the Road, XARM, Prank Lab, and Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn.[47] After a year long hiatus, the channel was relaunched on August 17, 2016 and rebranded as Primr, with all previously uploaded videos and series being made private. It is unclear if these videos will be made public again. Some of the short films uploaded on the channel have been reinstated, while its series remain hidden.

List of series[edit]

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is a live-action web series that debuted on October 5, 2012 and continued until the release of Halo 4 on November 6, 2012. The series represents the largest monetary investment Microsoft has made in a live-action Halo project. The goal of the web series is to introduce the franchise to people unfamiliar with the games. In this series, Halo fans will be taken back to the infamous beginning of the Human/Covenant war, when the Master Chief inspired a young cadet who would eventually become the commander of the UNSC's greatest vessel ever: the UNSC Infinity.[48]


XARM is a combat-sports concept reality show series produced by Endemol USA in which fighters compete. XARM is a fast-growing brutal combat sport featuring fighters from across the MMA universe. A combination of arm wrestling and MMA, XARM is visceral and bloody - there is nowhere to hide and no escape.[49]

Prank Lab

Prank Lab is an original new series of practical jokes captured on hidden camera. The show is from Katalyst Media, the production company founded by Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg.[50]


TH3 cLAN is a series about a clan of Call of Duty players encountering several troubles along their way to prepare for the annual Machinima clan gaming tournament whose winner gets $50,000. The clan consists of an ultra-rude gamer named Aaron (Eric Pumphrey), his friend Sam (Luke Baybak), former television actor named Mike (Dylan Saunders), and an un-grown 24-year-old named Josh (Kyle S. Moore). It was a spinoff of the Reckless Tortuga series The Online Gamer.

Tainted Love

Tainted Love tells the humorous story of a delivery boy named Barry (Orlando Jones) and his girlfriend Jezebel (Deanna Russo) who is pregnant, trying to pay for their baby's insurance. But when Jezebel tries robbing Barry's criminal boss Fred Lucas (Eric Roberts) for the money, things go awry and Barry and Jezebel must try to survive with Fred Lucas and the vengeful investigator Detective Jerry Jamshid after them.[51]

Happy Hour[edit]

Happy Hour was a block (and later a channel) focusing on animation. Eventually, the channel and block were shelved, with the channel being inactive since August 18, 2015, with no new episodes from any of its exclusive shows since July 28, 2015. The shows moved from the primary Machinima channel that are still being continued were moved back after Happy Hour's discontinuation. However, the channel resurfaced on September 7, 2016, with the premiere of the fourth season of Happy Hour Saloon, an animated series that parodies video games. It stopped uploading content again on November 11, 2016.

List of series[edit]

Battlefield Friends

An animated series about a group of friends and a "noob" playing popular first-person shooter games Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4. Originally hosted on the primary Machinima channel, it was moved to Happy Hour, then moved back to the primary channel for its fifth season after Happy Hour was discontinued. There hasn't been any indication of a sixth season, thus ending the show with its fifth. The sixth season later arriving on YouTube, followed by their new episode.[52]

Arby 'n' the Chief

A live action/machinima hybrid series created by Jon Graham, initially credited as DigitalPh33r and later Jon CJG, that revolves around the lives of Halo 2 figurine versions of Master Chief and the Arbiter as they play video games (usually Halo 3 and Halo: Reach) and constantly bicker with each other. The series is a comedy, but has also adopted a dramatic narrative style starting with its fifth season. The series initially ended after its third season, with a movie titled Endgame, but was later spun-off as Arby 'n' the Chief in LA by Machinima. Due to the poor reception of In LA, Graham brought back the show for a fourth season that ignored the events of in LA and Endgame and instead took place after the third season. Graham sought to end the show again with its seventh season, which ended on August 17, 2013. However, on October 6, 2014, Jon Graham revealed that he was contemplating producing an additional season, feeling dissatisfied at the original ending he created. On January 22, 2015, Graham uploaded a teaser for an eighth season to his personal YouTube channel, which later premiered on November 5, 2015. It aired on the primary Machinima channel for its first seven seasons, with its eighth (and supposedly final) season currently being aired on Graham's personal channel.

Sanity Not Included

A sketch comedy machinima series created by Dexter Manning and Lyle Burruss (credited as Dexterboy124 and GuitarmasterX7).[53] After a series of sketches created in various video games, the series also features an animated segment featuring fictionalized versions of Dexter and Lyle. After its third season, Lyle left the show, and was replaced by ImmortalHDFilms. It initially aired on the primary Machinima channel, though was moved over to Machinima's Happy Hour channel. It was later moved back to the primary Machinima channel after the Happy Hour channel became inactive, this time with Manning working on the show alone. The animated segments were abandoned and now are a compilation of machinima skits created by Manning under the name Sanity Not Included Shorts.

Sonic For Hire

A animated comedy series created by Mike Parker and Micheal William of LowBrow Studios. These animated shorts focus on Sonic the Hedgehog as he gets washed up and is looking for work with Miles "Tails" Prower, Doctor Eggman, Earthworm Jim, and Knuckles the Echidna. The crew face typical problems such as survival and being broke while also facing less typical problems such as starting a fire, the world falling apart, and games of Chicken. The series concluded with the seventh season.[54] It, like Sanity Not Included, aired on the primary Machinima channel, but was moved to the Happy Hour channel for its final seasons.

Two Best Friends Funtime Adventures

An animated spinoff of the Two Best Friends Play let's play series, written and voiced by series creators Matthew Kowalewski and Patrick Boivin (TheSw1tcher) and animated by 2Snacks. The series features fictionalized versions of the Two Best Friends cast exploring worlds based on different video games while discussing various facets of gaming culture, mechanics, and history. While the first two episodes aired on the primary Machinima channel like its parent series, remaining three episodes were posted exclusively to the Happy Hour channel. It was seemingly cancelled after five episodes.

Expansion of distribution mediums[edit]

Machinima, Inc. has expanded on to many websites and platforms to distribute its content currently maintaining the main website, eleven YouTube channels, an iPhone/iPad application, an Android application, Facebook applications, Facebook/Twitter/Google+ feeds, and a newsletter that distributes news content.

Previously, Machinima had an application on both the Xbox One and Xbox 360. Both consoles have since removed the Machinima app from their App Store.

Social media integration[edit]

Machinima uses a variety of social networking services including Facebook and Twitter as distribution platforms for its productions. It is integrated with Apple IOS and Microsoft Xbox Live service.[55] Machinima frequently posts content on various social networks core to the concept of sharing and generating hits for Machinima videos.

Machinima's partnership with Google includes Google's £30 million investment in Machinima.[56]


As a Multi Channel Network, Machinima has over 5,000 partners worldwide[57] who are contracted to produce video content under the Machinima brand.[4] The company has been criticised for the use of perpetual contracts.[58] Ben Vacas, known to the YouTube community as 'Braindeadly', attracted media attention in January 2013 over contractual issues with Machinima.[59] Under the terms of his contract, Machinima was permitted to place advertisements on Vacas's videos and in return he would receive a percentage of the profits generated.[59] However, the contract also disclosed that it existed "in perpetuity"[58] meaning Machinima would hold the rights to any content created by Vacas, published on his partnered YouTube channel, in his lifetime, a detail Vacas failed to read.[58]

In January 2014, Machinima was alleged to be paying its YouTube video partners for showing Xbox One content. According to reports, the content must be at least 30 seconds long and the Xbox One must be mentioned by name. An accompanying legal agreement also states that the partner "may not say anything negative or disparaging about Machinima, Xbox One, or any of its games". Additionally, the agreement states that the video producer must keep the details of the promotional agreement confidential, or they do not qualify for the promotional payment. Videos participating in this promotion tag their videos with the tag: XB1M13. Microsoft claims that it had no knowledge of the promotion.[60]

Machinima has faced criticism from YouTube members and viewers for a lack of transparency with its associates, placing advertisements on their associate channels' videos without permission, and a lack of transparency on the revenues side. One associate member, Clash, also criticised Machinima for insensitively placing an ad on a video dedicated to his ailing dog.[61][62]

On September 2, 2015, Machinima agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it engaged in deceptive advertising by paying “influencers” to post YouTube videos endorsing Microsoft’s Xbox One system and several games. The FTC claimed that the influencers failed to adequately disclose that they were being paid for their seemingly objective opinions. Under the proposed settlement, Machinima was prohibited from similar deceptive conduct in the future, and it was required to ensure its influencers clearly disclosed when they are compensated for their endorsements. According to the FTC’s complaint, Machinima and its influencers were part of an Xbox One marketing campaign managed by Microsoft’s advertising agency, Starcom MediaVest Group. Machinima guaranteed Starcom that the influencer videos would be viewed at least 19 million times.[63]

See also[edit]


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  32. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  33. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  34. ^ "Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series Show Summary". Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  35. ^ "'''YouTube''': ''Mortal Kombat: Legacy''". Retrieved 2012-09-18. 
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Preceded by
Top Subscribed Channel on YouTube
Ranked fourth as of December 2012
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Top Subscribed Channel on YouTube
Ranked 23 as of November 2011
Succeeded by

External links[edit]