In its continued expansion outside of game production, Activision Blizzard has announced the purchase of Major League Gaming’s business in an effort to create, as Activision’s CEO Bobby Kotick says, “the ESPN of eSports.”
The purchase comes as a means of building out the Activision Blizzard Media Networks division of the company as livestreaming and competitive gaming grows. In an interview with Game Informer, MLG co-founder Mike Sepso said this purchase is not meant to be a replacement of current options in the eSports world, but more of a partnership to “help [MLG] do that when they need it and build out the media side of the business.”
MLG will still continue to run its site MLG.tv, as well as its Pro Circuit and GameBattles platforms for eSports gaming.
“MLG’s ability to create premium content and its proven broadcast technology platform – including its live-streaming capabilities – strengthens our strategic position in competitive gaming. MLG has an incredibly strong and seasoned team and a thriving community,” Kotick said in a statement regarding the purchase.
Platforms like MLG.tv and Twitch have greatly expanded audiences for eSports, and competitive gaming tournaments have even been broadcast on ESPN 2. Activision’s move appears to be a step toward creating a platform viable channel for eSports on the level of ESPN. Kotick told The New York Times the plans are to bring eSports to viewers via traditional TV channel means.
Activision showed previous signs of diversifying its business with the announcement of a film and television division, which will produce TV shows and movies based on Call of Duty, Skylanders, and more.