Activision Blizzard got $160m from Youtube for exclusivity

by Ragid Hallak
Activision Blizzard Youtube

Activision Blizzard is one of the most popular game developers in the E-sports scene. They got Overwatch which is one of the best games in the genre beside Call of Duty and Hearthstone. According to The Esports Observer, Youtube paid $160 million to get the exclusive rights for streaming these games on the platform. That’s twice what Twitch paid for the company in their previous deal last year.

The partnership is not just about streaming rights

The deal between Youtube and Activision Blizzard announced couple weeks ago, the company said back then that The “multi-year strategic relationship to power new player experiences” sees Google Cloud serve as the “preferred provider for Activision Blizzard’s game hosting infrastructure”, and YouTube as its “exclusive streaming partner worldwide”, excluding China.

Activision Blizzard Overwatch

A picture from Overwatch League

Google says Activision Blizzard “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”. The report says that the majority of the overall US$160 million is to do with Overwatch League, with a significant amount also going towards Call of Duty’s esports league. It adds that card battler Hearthstone is not considered a “tier 1 esport” and as such has been called “a free throw-in for YouTube”.

This is an important deal for Youtube

This is an important deal for Youtube because it was struggling to compete in the streaming industry, especially in E-sports scene. “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. Will Youtube be able to beat Twitch which has been the leader for the past few years? That’s what we will find out by the end of 2020.

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