Activision Blizzard plans to make e-sports go mainstream and it has recently acquired the New York City-based Major League Gaming for $46 million. MLG, which is one of the world’s best rated professional e-sports organizations, is best known as host of Starcraft II tournaments for PC.
But since the video game tournaments are only streamed online and the events often lack a professional touch, the audience is comprised mostly of connoisseurs. Nevertheless, Call of Duty maker thinks that the business’ full potential hasn’t been tapped yet.
Activision’s CEO Robert A. Kotick recently unveiled the plans of his company to expand the business and reach new audiences. The company wants to model e-sports competitions on real-life sports events and broadcast them through traditional TV channels via satellite and cable.
The CEO announced that his company has serious plans to ‘build the ESPN of video games.’ Activision also announced that the recent purchase decision was mainly driven by its interest in MLG’s online streaming channel, MLG.tv, which is accessed by gamers via their personal computers, tablets, and game consoles.
Last year, Activision Blizzard Media Networks emerged as a pledge to help e-sports reach mainstream audiences. The division is currently run by the former CEO of ESPN and NFL Network. Activation also inked a deal with Mike Sepso, one of the founders of MLG, to serve in the media network.
Sundance DiGiovanni, another founder of MLG, will also work for Activision.
MLG, which was founded in 2002, will continue to organize and broadcast video game tournaments between professional players. The games would be provided by Activision and other video game developers.
E-sports is a growing business as many other game makers boosted their investments lately. For instance, Electronic Arts recently rolled out a division for e-sports, while Microsoft spent extra money on an online Halo tournament.
But the company which has managed to attract the largest audiences in e-sports ever is Riot Games with its League of Legends arena battle ground which had 14 million real-time viewers last year.
Nevertheless, game publishers usually see e-sports as a method to energize audiences and prevent fan bases from losing interest in their products. This is why competitions do not bring a lot of revenue and organizers do not invest too much in them. But publishers do profit from more sales and in-game purchases following a tournament.
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