YouTube Signs Activision Blizzard’s Major eSports Leagues

Google’s YouTube will exclusively stream Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty League, Overwatch League, and Hearthstone Esports, which had previously been on the Twitch streaming platform. The news came just before the Call of Duty League’s inaugural match. In 2018, Twitch inked exclusive Overwatch League streaming rights for a reported $90 million. Additionally, Google Cloud will host Activision Blizzard’s library of games. YouTube Gaming head Ryan Wyatt reported that talks over the rights had been ongoing since last year. Continue reading YouTube Signs Activision Blizzard’s Major eSports Leagues

Blizzard Suspends Pro eSports Player for His Political Stance

Gaming company Activision Blizzard suspended an eSports player who, during a live broadcast, expressed his support for the pro-democracy protest movement in Hong Kong. Professional “Hearthstone” player Chung Ng Wai has been suspended for a year and forced to give up $10,000 in prize money. The move led to a significant backlash from gamers and politicians via social media and online forums. The public relations dilemma is similar to what played out this week following NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s support of free speech, which led to the decision by China’s state-run television not to broadcast two NBA games. Continue reading Blizzard Suspends Pro eSports Player for His Political Stance

Twitch, YouTube Gaming Continue Growth in Viewing Hours

According to a new “State of the Stream” report from live-streaming platform StreamElements, gaming fans watched nearly 9.4 billion hours of content on Twitch last year, a 25 percent growth rate over 2017. While YouTube Gaming’s live content viewing totaled 2.3 billion hours (or about a quarter of Twitch’s hours), YouTube’s year-to-year growth rate was an impressive 104 percent. Microsoft’s live-streaming Mixer, which launched in 2016, had almost 168 million hours watched last year, which was an increase of 179 percent over 2017. Continue reading Twitch, YouTube Gaming Continue Growth in Viewing Hours

Two Groups Vie to Form NCAA-Like Organization for eSports

ESports is booming on college campuses; 40 colleges created “varsity” eSports programs, with full-time coaches and staff members, official arenas, player recruitment and eSports scholarships. The NCAA, the main organizing body for collegiate sports, is still mulling over whether eSports is a fit for its qualifications as a sport, even as the Big Ten, the Pacific-12 and colleges begin to look more favorably on accepting it as an athletic endeavor. Meanwhile, grassroots groups are working to create an NCAA-like organization. Continue reading Two Groups Vie to Form NCAA-Like Organization for eSports

Amazon Adds Game Streaming to Prime, Unveils New Games

Amazon is adding video game streaming to its Prime membership, offering subscribers one free channel on Twitch Interactive, which the company purchased for about $1 billion in 2014. Prime members can watch others play video games on Twitch for free. With this move, the Seattle-based company positions itself as a competitor to Sony and Microsoft and signals its greater ambitions in gaming. Amazon also introduced three new online multiplayer games being developed through Amazon Game Studios. Continue reading Amazon Adds Game Streaming to Prime, Unveils New Games

Machinima and Turner Plan to Leverage Popularity of eSports

YouTube-centric Machinima, which has focused on gamers and fan culture for a decade, just launched MACH-1, an in-house eSports consulting unit that will offer research and analytics, strategic planning and campaign execution. Machinima recently hosted an eSports panel of industry executives at its NewFronts event. Turner and WME-IMG are also about to begin broadcasting scheduled video games on TV in the U.S. ESports have a massive global audience but opportunities to monetize the sector haven’t yet been fully leveraged. Continue reading Machinima and Turner Plan to Leverage Popularity of eSports

GDC 2016: Oculus Plans to Debut 30 Games with Rift Headset

At GDC 2016 this week, Oculus demonstrated its retail headset with 41 games, 30 of which will launch with the Rift. The headset already has a pre-order list backed up to July, four months past its initial March 28 release. Over four generations, Rift has improved, says one journalist, although the “screen door effect” still exists in games that are heavy in fine details such as “Project CARS” and less so in games with fewer details and more abstraction. The Rift’s head tracking and overall latency was also deemed “spot on.” Continue reading GDC 2016: Oculus Plans to Debut 30 Games with Rift Headset

Investors Are Drawn to eSports as Popularity Doubles in U.S.

The eSports category, competitive gaming, is poised to skyrocket in popularity in the U.S., says a Frank N. Magid Associates report. Long popular in Asia, eSports has grown 100 percent in the last two years in the U.S. Of the 70 percent of Americans, aged 8 to 64 years old who play some kind of game, nine percent watched or attended an eSports event in 2013, a figure now grown to 18 percent. Games that fill arenas with fans include “League of Legends,” “Dota 2,” “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” and “Hearthstone.” Continue reading Investors Are Drawn to eSports as Popularity Doubles in U.S.

TBS and WME/IMG Plan to Bring Video Games to Primetime

Video games are coming to primetime TV next year, as Turner Broadcasting System partners with talent agency WME/IMG to create a league for players and fans. The currently unnamed league will broadcast gaming competitions live on Friday nights, with the hope it will draw in young male viewers on a night that is traditionally difficult to program. This first year, the league, which will broadcast 20 weeks a year, will focus competition in the game “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” published by Valve Corp. Continue reading TBS and WME/IMG Plan to Bring Video Games to Primetime

Activision Ships $1 Billion Worth of New ‘Call of Duty’ Game

Gamers have opted to hold off on purchasing some high-profile games until Sony and Microsoft release their next-gen consoles. The PlayStation 4 is scheduled to launch November 15 and the Xbox One will be available November 22. Although consumers are showing hesitation ahead of the new hardware launches, Activision Blizzard has shipped $1 billion worth of “Call of Duty: Ghosts” to retailers worldwide. “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” earned $1 billion in 15 days when it was released last year. Continue reading Activision Ships $1 Billion Worth of New ‘Call of Duty’ Game