Media ethics: Microsoft and Machinima So it's been leaked that Microsoft was paying Machinima, who in turn paid its contributors, to talk positive about Xbox One games (video link). Some observations: The FTC said that Microsoft wasn't at fault, only Machinima was, and that Machinima is the one who would be punished in the future, and then it's only a fine of about 50% of the video's worth. The lesson here is that if you're a huge company with deep pockets and a vested interest, it's not unethical to offer the money. The only people who will suffer are the people who take the money. Of course, people couldn't take the money if it wasn't being offered... This pay-to-play promotion started two years ago, in 2013. Back in January of 2014, reps from Microsoft denied the whole thing, even as these videos were being posted in the same month. Xbox sales floundered at its debut in 2013, then sales tripled in 2014. The lesson here is that the promotions were successful. Machinima claims there was a change of management in March 2014. The lesson here is that being a corporation means shuffling people around absolves your entity from responsibility. People are to blame, never the brands, never the culture, never the system.