Machinima, Inc. was a video game-centric entertainment network owned by Warner Bros. through their Warner Bros. Digital Networks division. It was named after, and originally served as a hub for, machinima works. Over time, particularly after the departure of founder Hugh Hancock in 2006, the website would move away from its namesake content and become more recognized as a YouTube-based network.
Machinima would go on to become one of YouTube's premiere multi-channel networks (MCN), and be well-known for original series such as Mortal Kombat: Legacy, Sanity Not Included, Sonic for Hire, and Battlefield Friends. Then again, Machinima would also become embroiled in various controversies and attract criticism from the YouTube community for their business practices; its since-discontinued use of perpetual contracts being the most infamous. Many machinima directors also resent the network for abandoning actual machinima content, because thanks to its popularity, the network would overshadow the medium to near-obscurity. This change in focus can be likened to that of G4TV's shift away from gaming and technology-oriented programming.note Indeed, Machinima can be best described as G4 if it was a YouTube network instead of a linear cable and satellite network, right down to the Network Decay and subsequent Dork Age.
Between 2012 and 2015, Machinima would undergo various layoffs, resulting in the cancellation of several shows and the discontinuation of content on many of their channels, some of which have since become inactive. The disaffiliation of many notable content creators, personalities, and employees on Machinima's roster would also lead to a decline in quality for the network's original programming.
Beginning in 2014, Warner Bros would invest into Machinima. The network would subsequently broaden its focus to include fandom and comic book-based programming, debuting many such shows as Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles. In November 2016, Warner Bros would outright acquire Machinima and integrate the network as a wholly owned subsidiary.
Machinima has since de-emphasized its YouTube programming and moved away from the MCN model, which itself has seen declines over the years. The network would instead move towards the distribution of original series and content on other platforms, such as Amazon. For instance, Machinima's content can be streamed on Prime Video, and they were among the first to launch an "Always On" 24/7 streaming channel on Twitch.
Once its integration into Warner Bros was complete, Machinima would relaunch in February 2018 with a new logo, refocus its programming back to video games and gamer-related fare, produce new series for platforms like Facebook Watch, and continue to cross-promote events with other Warner properties such as DC Comics and The CW. With the completion of AT&T's 2018 acquisition of Warner Bros parent company, now known as WarnerMedia, Machinima is now also an affiliate to Otter Media assets like Crunchyroll and Rooster Teeth. By December of that year, Machinima would be re-organized into Otter Media.
In January 2019, Machinima and several of its partners were subsumed under Fullscreen and its creator network. By January 22, Machinima's active YouTube channels went dark, with their videos set to private. On February 1, 2019, the company officially ceased productions, laying off 81 employees. Many of the employees were moved onto Rooster Teeth (naturally, given the fellow WB owned company still runs a machinima show to this date).
ProgrammingFrom 2006 to 2016, Machinima's content was primarily screened on YouTube through several affiliated channels. As the network would migrate to other platforms, its YouTube channels continued to upload new content until January 2019.
- Machinima: The flagship channel, which previously hosted content from the Machinima website, original series from partnered directors, and in-studio programming such as Inside Gaming. Discontinued in 2019.
- Machinima Respawn: Machinima's former all-gameplay channel. Due to budget cuts and a lack of views, Respawn was discontinued in 2015 and eventually folded into Realm.
- Realm Games: Machinima's gameplay channel. Formally Machinima Realm, which originally launched in 2010 and was focused on real-time strategy, and MMORPG's, and similar genre games. Discontinued in 2019.
- Machinima Trailer Vault: A channel dedicated exclusively to trailers.
- Inside Gaming: Machinima's gaming news show that was eventually expanded into its own channel. After Machinima's closure, Rooster Teeth picked up the brand, took the former employees who were working for it at time, merged that staff with The Know's staff (whose staff includes Inside Gaming's founder Adam Kovic and former Inside Gaming members Bruce Greene and Lawrence Sonntag), and renamed The Know (including its channel) to Inside Gaming on Valentine's Day 2019. The newly-rebranded Inside Gaming channel is over here.
- ETC: An entertainment news show that first launched in 2010 and expanded into its own channel in 2016. It's name is an acryonym for Entertainment, Technology, and Culture.
- ETC Party Time: Launched in 2017.
- Machinima Live: Livestreams and events.
- Machinima VS: Focused on eSports.
- Happy Hour: Machinima's animation channel. Happy Hour is also where original series previously uploaded to the main channel moved to.
- Primr: Formally Machinima Prime, which focused on premium-quality content from creators and studios. The channel relaunched under its current name in 2016.
- Body Count Fighting: A series of competitive fighting game events pitting top players against each other. The corresponding channel focuses on content relating to fighting games. Discontinued in 2019.
Notable Machinima series with their own pages include:
- Arby 'n' the Chief
- Battlefield Friends
- Bite Me!
- Freeman's Mind
- Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
- Mega Man Dies at the End
- Mortal Kombat: Legacy
- Not Exactly Royalty
- Sanity Not Included
- Sonic for Hire
- Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist
- Street Fighter: Resurrection
- The Transformers: Combiner Wars (Was streamed exclusively on Go90 in the United States)
- Two Best Friends Play
- Wolf's Retarded Mission
Machinima provided examples of the following tropes:
- All Adult Animation Is South Park: Sums up Happy Hour's programming quite nicely.
- Lampshade Hanging: After Machinima's rebranding in 2018, their Twitch channel lampshaded the fact that the network did anything but machinima.About: "Are you going to find short movies made via in-game engines here? Nope! Crazy right?"
- Network Decay: Machinima may very well be the internet's equivalent to MTV when it comes to actual machinima. The original purpose of their YouTube channel was to feature the most popular videos from their website. Over time, Machinima began to focus more on gaming culture as a whole, with partner-produced machinima series taking a back seat to general game-related fare. What solidified the change was the website removing the ability to upload videos and the company changing its name to simply "Machinima". The machinima medium, outside of Garry's Mod, Source Filmmaker, Minecraft, and Super Mario 64 Bloopers, has become obscure because of this. Nowadays, when most people talk about "machinima", they're generally referring to a now-defunct YouTube channel which had jack to do with the very thing it's named after.