Two years after it signed a similar deal with Twitch, Activision Blizzard has confirmed it has pivoted to YouTube for a “multi-year strategic relationship” that makes Google the developer/publisher’s “exclusive worldwide third-party provider” for livestreaming.
Google Cloud will serve as the preferred provider for Activision Blizzard’s game hosting infrastructure and YouTube as its exclusive streaming partner worldwide (excluding China, that is), including esports events like Overwatch League, Call of Duty League, and Hearthstone Esports.
Google didn’t specify the terms of the deal but a comparable partnership struck with Twitch in January 2018 was thought to be worth around $90 million.
“With hundreds of millions of monthly active users around the world, Activision Blizzard sought a partner to help enhance its gaming infrastructure, as well as deliver superior, low-latency player experiences,” Google said in a press release. “The company turned to Google Cloud because of its highly reliable global footprint, advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, and commitment to open source, creating a platform for building future gaming innovations.”
This means YouTube, not Twitch, will host the live broadcasts of the inaugural Call of Duty League season, plus Overwatch League’s 2020 season, which kicks off on February 8th – a massive coup for YouTube given it had been struggling to compete with industry leaders Twitch and Mixer.
“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,” said Pete Vlastelica, CEO of 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.”
Esports lives on @YouTubeGaming.
Welcome to the family, Overwatch League, Call of Duty League, and Hearthstone Esports.
— Ryan Wyatt (@Fwiz) January 24, 2020
“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 video gaming platform in the world,” added 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 digital live streaming of both leagues. This partnership further demonstrates our dedication to having a world-class live streaming product for gaming.”
“We’ve worked closely with Activision Blizzard for the past few years across mobile titles to boost its analytics capabilities and overall player experience,” said 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.”