The Call of Duty League is set to kick off later today. Activision Blizzard's newest esports league will officially replace the old Call of Duty Pro League model and lean more towards an Overwatch League-style presentation, with viewers able to watch it on... er... okay, that has been made unclear. At least it was until earlier today when the company announced a major streaming deal with the people at YouTube. And yes, this YouTube partnership looks to be the end of Activision Blizzard's relationship with Twitch, at least for the time being.
On Friday afternoon, Activision Blizzard announced a deal with Google that would make YouTube the exclusive home of live tournaments and broadcasts for the Call of Duty League, Overwatch League, Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, and more of the company's esports arms. It's here that Activision Blizzard announced that YouTube would be the exclusive home of the Call of Duty League, just hours prior to the league's first game.
"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," YouTube Head of Gaming Ryan Wyatt said via press release. "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."
Activision Blizzard originally signed a two-year exclusive deal with Twitch back in January 2018, which astute readers may note has just expired. There were a lot of questions marks regarding whether the two parties would renew their deal, especially as Overwatch League viewership numbers started to level off near the end of the second season. Shacknews brought this up to Twitch Esports head Justin Dellario in a face-to-face interview at TwitchCon 2019, with Dellario indicating at the time that Twitch was pleased with the collaboration between the two parties. He also noted that Twitch had been in early discussions with Activision regarding their future together.
"Activision-Blizzard is a long-time partner of Twitch," Dellario told Shacknews during our interview. "So we'd be behind the 8 ball if we weren't already talking about ways to work together on the Call of Duty League, because even before you think about Activision-Blizzard and whatever their business goals might be around that league, that's still a community that we share, so we want to take care of that."
However, while Activision Blizzard will lose the Twitch infrastructure that offered such extras as Twitch Drops and the Twitch All-Access Pass for the Overwatch League, it looks to be gaining the services of the Google Cloud. Today's announcement saw the company tout the capabilities of the Google Cloud AI tools, which will offer curated experiences and an optimized personal viewing experience.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Activision Blizzard announces deal making YouTube exclusive streaming partner
oh snap! buh-bye twitch.
between twitch, youtube and mixer, shit's heating up
activision blizzard also choosing google cloud for their infrastructure. wonder if this means we can get an east coast server for overwatch (right now its just west coast and central)
Someone needs to hurry the fuck up and get 4k streams of esports. I understand that HomeStreamer69 isn't necessarily going to have the rig/bandwidth to do 4k streams but for tournament esports stuff there's absolutely no reason those things should be as low quality as Twitch is.