Blizzard Purchases IGN's Pro Gaming League

Blizzard Purchases IGN's Pro Gaming League

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Owning its own professional gaming league will make Blizzard a major player in esports.

First, a little inside baseball in the gaming journalism business. After languishing on the auction block for years by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., IGN - the behemoth gaming website I won't bother to link here - was acquired earlier this year by Ziff Davis. The plan was to shrink some of IGN's holdings to concentrate on the main brand, and part of that meant shuttering the IGN Pro League and cancelling its professional gaming event in Las Vegas mere weeks before it was scheduled to begin. Today, IGN announced Blizzard Entertainment has purchased all the rights and holdings of the IPL for an undisclosed sum.

According to Blizzard's brief statement, present employees of the IPL will create a new team "whose primary focus will be on creating high-quality web and mobile content in support of Blizzard games."

"This new team will help us to further develop the rich media experiences that extend the fun and engagement of our games online," said Blizzard executive vice president of publishing Itzik Ben-Bassat. "This is a team of passionate gamers with a proven track record, and we're looking forward to now leveraging their expertise and technology to support a variety of online efforts."

The implications for this acquisition are huge for Blizzard, whose StarCraft II is a big draw for esports events run by companies like Major League Gaming. Now that they have their own gaming league, it's possible Blizzard may concentrate on pimping more than just StarCraft in esports events like Arena PVP in WoW and the upcoming Hearthstone through events of its own. They could limit licensing for other gaming leagues to run their games so that they can more specifically control Blizzard branding through holding their own shows and events.

That's all speculation though, honestly. The statement claims they will use the assets of IPL to create web-based content, which may mean the shoutcasting talent and streaming technology is what they were after. I've sent an email out to Blizzard's PR and I'll let you know if we hear any more details.

Source: Blizzard

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Love the SC2 screenshot y'all went with for this one. That from an alpha build of the game?

Srsly though, this is A Big Thing. The IPL put on some pretty good shows.

Is this the 'big esports news' that was teased by Blizzard a week ago? Several of the pro gamers' twitter account made mention of big (and disappointing) news, but they wouldn't say what was going on. NDA or something like that.

Well, I guess there will be less big tournaments for LoL and SF4 like the IPL.
However SC2 will have this fantastic scene for Blizzard to organize their tournaments in.

This will surely challenge Riot growing power inside the esport community.

But I wonder if the compannies that made the game played in those tournaments control directly so much in the esport scene, will it create a fake bubble of esport, or will it grow ever stronger?

T3hSource:
Well, I guess there will be less big tournaments for LoL and SF4 like the IPL.
However SC2 will have this fantastic scene for Blizzard to organize their tournaments in.

Well, Ziff Davis was pretty much content with chucking the IPL out the window. Blizzard caught parts of it, which was really a lot better than we thought was going to happen. SF4 will probably show up a few times since Blizzactivision doesn't really have a competing product. Blizzard All-Stars hanging around somewhere and DotA being a mod for a Blizz product pretty much means LoL's right out, though. Which is fine, really, since Riot already does some pretty extensive tourney stuff for LoL anyway.

This makes me very happy, especially:

According to Blizzard's brief statement, present employees of the IPL will create a new team "whose primary focus will be on creating high-quality web and mobile content in support of Blizzard games."

I really enjoyed the banter between the casters, more so than the games on a lot of occasions. Kevin, Kibbles and Robin had a really fun dynamic goin on. Any pairing of those guys could contend for my favourite caster duo.

T3hSource:
Well, I guess there will be less big tournaments for LoL and SF4 like the IPL.
However SC2 will have this fantastic scene for Blizzard to organize their tournaments in.

tbf to blizz its better then letting the IPL just die off. sure it MIGHT focus down to just SC2, (no-one takes WoW PvP seriously right? RIGHT?) they *might* do some Blizzard All Starts (Blizzard Dota) torneys, only time will tell.

I'm really glad IPL is still going to be a thing - I always had a rebroadcast on in the background.

Ne1butme:
Is this the 'big esports news' that was teased by Blizzard a week ago? Several of the pro gamers' twitter account made mention of big (and disappointing) news, but they wouldn't say what was going on. NDA or something like that.

Nope. That was this. The "disappointing" part of that for some players is that there is/was a lot of confusion as to where the best region to play in is and fear about getting locked out of some tournaments.

Finally some gaming news that doesn't involve getting out then fire and pitchforks

I'm ok with this

That's pretty ridiculous. A gaming company owns a league. That's like an NHL team owning the whole NHL league.

BTW worth reminding that Blizzard is one company with Activision.

Agente L:
This will surely challenge Riot growing power inside the esport community.

But I wonder if the compannies that made the game played in those tournaments control directly so much in the esport scene, will it create a fake bubble of esport, or will it grow ever stronger?

Doubt it. This seems more like IGN.com slowly getting divided up and sold due to it's lack of relevance and reputation.

Seriously, the reviews on IGN are probably some of the most untrusted in gaming alongside Gamespot.

Sgt. Sykes:
That's pretty ridiculous. A gaming company owns a league. That's like an NHL team owning the whole NHL league.

BTW worth reminding that Blizzard is one company with Activision.

Surely better than letting the league simply die out

Not sure how I feel about this. I'm glad IPL survived, but this means future IPL's will be entirely Blizzard games. How long before Riot also buys it's own gaming league? Or Capcom? I don't want to watch a seperate league for every game...

And in a single stroke of the pen, Riot could potentially get fucked.

This is part of the big WCS unveiling for the NA scene, this is only good news for esports and sc2 in particular. Last year Blizzard proved they could put on one hell of a global year long tournament that surpassed even WCG, now I hope whoever came with IPL will have a greater hand on maps and offline tournament structure, which were the 2 glaring problems with last year's Blizzard tournament.

Steven Bogos:
Not sure how I feel about this. I'm glad IPL survived, but this means future IPL's will be entirely Blizzard games. How long before Riot also buys it's own gaming league? Or Capcom? I don't want to watch a seperate league for every game...

It would be like boxing. With about the same level of modern relevance.

OT: All this looks like is a wanking session for Starcraft 2, and maybe Starcraft 1.

Not starcraft 1, that is long gone for any major esports events. Even the long running broodwar Korean tournaments have switched to sc2

Is that a mothership using the planetcracker ability in the screenshot? That didn't even make it into the original sc2 beta, if I remember right. Yeesh.

Just some notes:

Greg Tito:
Owning its own professional gaming league will make Blizzard a major player in esports.

You do realize that Blizz has been the the second largest esports company in volume (probably the first in relevance) for several years right?

Greg Tito:
They could limit licensing for other gaming leagues to run their games so that they can more specifically control Blizzard branding through holding their own shows and events.

I think it's unlikely Blizz is retarded enough to hurt his relationship with KeSPA or GSL over this.

Greg Tito:
Now that they have their own gaming league, it's possible Blizzard may concentrate on pimping more than just StarCraft in esports events like Arena PVP in WoW and the upcoming Hearthstone through events of its own.>

It's quite likely that they will promote more than SC, WoW arena however is not viable, I don't think anyone has taken that seriously for a couple of years at least.

Greg Tito:
That's all speculation though, honestly. The statement claims they will use the assets of IPL to create web-based content, which may mean the shoutcasting talent and streaming technology is what they were after. I've sent an email out to Blizzard's PR and I'll let you know if we hear any more details.

As much as I don't usually trust PR, this is the only thing that makes sense, buying the IPL to promote their games and have more self generated content to compete with Riot.

Sgt. Sykes:
That's pretty ridiculous. A gaming company owns a league. That's like an NHL team owning the whole NHL league.

BTW worth reminding that Blizzard is one company with Activision.

I think that is an inappropriate analogy. It not like Blizzard has it own team and them owning the league. More like NHL owning the rights to the game of Hockey is more appropriate analogy.

Also it not exactly worth mentioning that Blizzard is part of Activision Blizzard, because it is still an autonomous studio/publisher within the company.

I think Blizzard is also trying to stop sc2 from going down the path of broodwar with kespa being the sole power. There had been a lot of tension between Blizzard and kespa over broodwar, and they obviously don't want to go down that road a second time.

 

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