Blowing The Whistle On XB1M13, MS And Machinima’s Covert Xbox One Campaign


First off, we didn’t think this deal would become a scandal, not by a long shot. We were provided an email by a YouTube personality that didn’t see fit to sign the agreement and take part in the XB1M13 promo. Much like the party that provided us the email, we weren’t making it public maliciously. In fact, if you read our article, you can see that we were pretty neutral about the situation. That was before the onion started to peel.

Days later, the terms of the promotion were made public and that’s when this whole thing really blew up. We had no idea that MS and Machinima had legally bound those taking part to not disparage Machinima, Xbox One or its software during their videos; but it appears they had. On top of that, participants were similarly silenced on the fact that they were receiving a promotional compensation rate.

Many companies have done similar promotions with Machinima in the past (above). EA, the E3 Expo, PAX, Comic Con etc. have all tapped the popular YouTube channel for a bit of promotion. The difference lies in the terms of their agreement. Past promotions didn’t assert the same secrecy as XB1M13 did, and that’s why I consider them to be above-board, and business as usual. I thought the same about Microsoft’s campaign until further details emerged.

As it turns out, Machinima and Microsoft teamed up back in November to promote the launch of Xbox One, but the terms of the deal were less severe. As of now, Microsoft hasn’t commented on this whole deal, and I wish they would. It just doesn’t make sense that they’d sanction this type of promo internally and elicit Machinima to dole out the deal. Xbox One is selling just fine on its own without soliciting YouTube personalities to praise it. But the real tragedy lies in the 81 YouTuber’s that have signed the agreement. They’re receiving the worst of it. Their reputation is tarnished from this point on.

As for the individual that provided us with the information initially, they’re now a bit worried they sit in a boiling kettle. As we said, they never agreed to the terms of the promotion, so they shouldn’t have any legal recourse over this, but suffice to say, they never meant to damage so many people in the process.

As for the sketchy business practices that our original article brought to light, I stand by my earlier estimation; it’s nothing short of bribery. Moving forward it will be interesting to see what other covert dealings take place within the industry. Reports seem to indicate Machinima having a dedicated app on the Xbox 360 as the reason for this partnership, does this mean that others whom have apps on the 360 have reached similar deals? Only time will tell.

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Dylan Zellmer

Dylan splits time between games journalism, designing video games, and playing them. Outside of his deep involvement in the games industry, he enjoys It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Shameless, A Song of Ice and Fire, fitness, and family.
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  • Dennis Crosby

    Its sad that those 81 youtuber might actually like the Xbox one and thought they should sign the agreement for the extra cash. But since this so called scandal has emerged now they will loss money and subscribers.what I think is weird is that this has been going on for years and I’m pretty sure game companies aren’t the only ones doing this but since its Microsoft the internet blows up

    • Daniel Dorestant

      Promoting has been going on, but the clause of silence is illegal, thats the part that ppl aren’t happy about

  • Obambush

    Not much of a secret when you have to put this in the video lmfao.

  • kevin

    Love how everyone is convinced of this being some sort of illicit scandal, when both companies have had their legal teams go over every aspect .