Peter Kafka

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Machinima, YouTube’s Giant Gamer Network, Lays Off 10 Percent of Staff

halo machinimaMachinima, one of the biggest networks on YouTube, is laying off 10 percent of its staff.

The game-centric video company said it will let go of 22 of its 206 employees “in connection with Machinima’s growth plan.” The company, which plans to invest more heavily in original content, and to build up revenue sources outside of Google’s website, said it will take the money it is spending on positions it is cutting and reinvest the money in new ventures.

Machinima has been talking to potential “strategic” investors, like film studios, since last spring, hoping to raise a big round of funding. While Machinima won’t acknowledge it publicly, people familiar with the company said it has also contemplated a sale.

But industry officials said Machinima has had difficulty finding suitors at the valuations it wanted. Last year, Google made a rare investment in the company as part of a round that valued the network at $200 million.

Here’s Machinima’s statement on the cuts:

“In connection with Machinima’s growth plan, the company is making an increased commitment to premium programming, its’ YouTube affiliate network, and multi-platform distribution. As a result of an increased need for investment in these areas, Machinima is eliminating positions representing approximately 10% of the company’s workforce equating to 22 of 206 employees. Over the next several months, Machinima will announce new programming and distribution initiatives that will advance the next phase of this strategic plan.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work