Activision Blizzard, Google Ink Deal Making YouTube Exclusive Home for Live Esports

Google Cloud becomes the esports company’s preferred infrastructure provider

Activision Blizzard’s live esports properties have a new home, thanks to a new multi-year deal that the gaming giant has signed with Google. In addition to Google Cloud’s serving as the preferred provider for Activision Blizzard’s game-hosting infrastructure, YouTube will be the exclusive streaming home (excluding in China) for live broadcasts of Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League, Call of Duty League, Hearthstone Esports, and more.

“This is an exciting year for Activision Blizzard Esports as we head into the inaugural season of Call of Duty League and our first-ever season of homestands for Overwatch League all around the world,” says Pete Vlastelica, CEO, Activision Blizzard Esports. “It’s our mission to deliver high-quality competitive entertainment that our fans can follow globally, live or on-demand, and to celebrate our players as the superstars that they are. This partnership will help us deliver on that promise at new levels, by combining our passionate communities of fans and players with YouTube’s powerful content platform and exciting history of supporting next-generation entertainment.”

CoD and Overwatch Leagues Head to YouTube
Beginning this week, YouTube will host the official live broadcasts of Activision Blizzard’s popular esports leagues and events, including the newly created Call of Duty League, Overwatch League, and Hearthstone Esports. The inaugural Call of Duty League season kicked off on Friday, Jan. 24 with 12 teams competing in Minnesota; Overwatch League’s 2020 season will follow on Feb. 8. All competitions will be live-streamed on each league’s YouTube channel and will include archived and other special content.

In 2018, Blizzard Entertainment signed a two-year deal with Twitch making the platform the exclusive live-streaming provider for esports tournaments. With that deal expired, YouTube becomes the exclusive home to Activision Blizzard live esports content.

“With more than 200 million gamers a day watching more than 50 billion hours of gaming content per year, YouTube provides gamers and their passionate fans with the most popular videogaming platform in the world,” says Ryan Wyatt, head of gaming, YouTube. “Both the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League are the quintessential examples of world-class esports content. As a former Call of Duty esports commentator myself, I couldn’t be more excited for Activision Blizzard to choose YouTube as its exclusive home for the live streaming of both leagues. This partnership further demonstrates our dedication to having a world-class live-streaming product for gaming.”

Google Cloud Aims To Boost Player Experience
Activision Blizzard will look to Google Cloud to enhance its gaming infrastructure and deliver superior, low-latency experiences to its hundreds of millions of global monthly active users. According to the announcement, Google Cloud’s highly reliable global footprint, advanced data analytics and artificial-intelligence (AI) capabilities, and commitment to open source will create a platform for building future gaming innovations.

Under the deal, players will benefit from low latency and packet loss when playing high-fidelity games on any device. Activision Blizzard also can tap into Google Cloud’s AI tools to offer curated recommendations for in-game offers and differentiated gaming experiences.

“We’ve worked closely with Activision Blizzard for the past few years across mobile titles to boost its analytics capabilities and overall player experience,” says Sunil Rayan, head of gaming, Google Cloud. “We are excited to now expand our relationship and help power one of the largest and most renowned game developers in the world.”

Adds Activision Blizzard CIO Jacques Erasmus, “We’re excited to partner with Google to drive the next generation of gaming innovation for the industry. Google Cloud’s best-in-class infrastructure gives us the confidence to deliver great entertainment to our fans around the world.”

YouTube begins hosting the official live broadcasts of Activision Blizzard esports this week.