Microsoft have tonight announced that they've signed an exclusivity deal with the makers of "The Guild", the internet-based "comedy" show about a bunch of WoW guildmates. The show's second season will appear on the 360's new Independent Video channel first, and only after four weeks will the show then become available on The Guild's own site (though Microsoft will still take a cut of the revenue). Interestingly, the Reuters report announcing the deal says the show will be released free of charge, and will be available simultaneously for Xbox Live users across the world (unlike the regular video marketplace, which is either heavily restricted or non-existent outside North America). Kinda strange they went for The Guild, though. The Mega64 kids might have been a more appropriate buy. Triple "Guild" play for Microsoft [Reuters]
Before everyone cries 'bloody-murder' at the fact that M$ bought a fan-fav web-show, you should think for a moment. This is really good for The Guild and it shows that web-shows can make money. It's also good for indie-actors and for shows that can prove they can generate an audience. Put yourself in their shoes. Now they're actually are getting paid, they don't have to ask for houses to film in the L.A. area, etc.
Integrity after buyout? Time will tell.