In a groundbreaking move for esports broadcasting, Activision Blizzard partnered with YouTube Gaming for all their future broadcasts. Esports like the Overwatch League and the recently formed Call of Duty League join this partnership.
Official press release by Google:
In their official announcement, Activision Blizzard is excited about the prospects of their new deal. Activision Blizzard put a focus on their desire for advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence capabilities. They promise that by teaming up with YouTube, they will be able to provide “differentiated gaming experiences”.
What this likely means is that by using Google Cloud’s database, they can help customize the fan experience, similarly to how Google ads will adapt to the user. However, it is unclear how exactly this practice will be implemented. Custom emotes and in-game bonuses are commonplace in many streaming platforms. Google, in partnering with big esports brands, may plan to implement something more unique. Their data would create opportunities that more heavily cater to fans.
OWL is set to begin on February 8, kicking off their newest partnership with YouTube Gaming. Previously, fans found OWL streams, like most esports broadcasts, on Twitch. But as the industry grows, it seems more and more likely that platforms will claim exclusive rights to certain esports.
The OWL has been subject to lots of criticism lately, with issues like player travel plaguing the community. Long-standing members of the production are even parting ways with Overwatch.
I’ve decided to move away from a full-time casting position in @overwatchleague and move on to other gaming opportunities. It’s been an adventure!
(Twitlonger coming in the next post)
— Erik “DoA” Lonnquist – Freelancer BTW (@ggDoA) January 6, 2020
It’s for these issues that the community grows doubtful of the longevity of the OWL. But this deal brings confidence to more devout fans. By partnering with a large brand like YouTube, there is little doubt that OWL will benefit. As a YouTube exclusive, Overwatch will likely receive priority treatment, much like their YouTube Premium shows. This means additional advertising and proximity to the homepages of the YouTube user base.
While OWL hopes to breathe new life into their broadcast, CDL hopes to start theirs with the birth of this deal. On January 24, the inaugural day of CDL, their partnership was announced.
Esports lives on @YouTubeGaming.
Welcome to the family, Overwatch League, Call of Duty League, and Hearthstone Esports.
— Ryan Wyatt (@Fwiz) January 24, 2020
Call of Duty has long been a pillar of the esports history books. Call of Duty montages in 2010 popularized and defined the possibilities for recorded video game media. But despite breaking that ground, Call of Duty never received a dedicated esports franchise league similar to that of LCS or OWL. In 2020, the CDL looks to set that foundation on the platform that it was popularized with.
Fans of both OWL and CDL both hold practical reasons to worry about the future of their favorite game. But hopefully, those worries can be put to rest as Activision Blizzard moves forward with this new YouTube partnership.
Written by Devon Huge