He promises "resources to help people create better videos," adding, "and we'll do the labor, the administration and ad-serving side, allowing them to monetize their content."

But labor, administration and ad service are essentially what networks like Machinima do. When questioned, Duncan admits that this new "union" is really more like a new network — albeit one with high-minded intentions — and therefore competition for Machinima.

Not coincidentally, it's a network that counts several former Machinima creators among its partners. Its public face, in fact, is none other than Bachir Boumaaza, better known as Athene.

Braindeadly, aka Ben Vacas, had 40,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel when he quit making videos.
Braindeadly, aka Ben Vacas, had 40,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel when he quit making videos.
Video game filmmaker Hugh Hancock sold Machinima.com to entrepreneurs in 2006.
Cory Doctorow /Wikimedia
Video game filmmaker Hugh Hancock sold Machinima.com to entrepreneurs in 2006.

Boumaaza announced the partnership in a video posted two months after he left Machinima.

"I can talk, make videos about how the landscape on YouTube should be, but unless I come with a real alternative, why would other networks listen to what I say?" he says, sitting in the same spot, shot with the same black-and-white filter used in his video supporting Vacas. So he did.

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