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February 22, 2020
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Google deal lands Activision Blizzard esports events exclusively on YouTube Gaming

Google deal lands Activision Blizzard esports events exclusively on YouTube Gaming

January 24, 2020 | By Alissa McAloon

Activision Blizzard and Google have inked a new partnership that both names Google Cloud the ‘preferred provider’ for Activision Blizzard’s many online games and hands exclusive esports league streaming rights over to Google’s YouTube Gaming.

The deal marks a significant partnership in both fields, as signing on with a major industry presence like Activision Blizzard aims to help Google highlight its assorted services as game development tools.

While the press release detailing the arrangement mentions online play benefits like low latency as a plus to Google Cloud’s new status as Activision Blizzard’s preferred provider, it also notes that the platform’s AI offerings were part of the reason it caught ActiBlizz’s eye.

Specifically, “[players] will also have optimal personalized interactions, as Activision Blizzard can tap into Google Cloud's AI tools to offer curated recommendations for in-game offers and differentiated gaming experiences.“

On the YouTube Gaming side of the deal, landing exclusive streaming rights (China excluded) for the Overwatch League, Call of Duty League, and Hearthstone esports events, among others, marks the platform’s continued push into the streaming space.

Up until just recently, Twitch had maintained exclusive streaming rights to Overwatch League matches, a deal Venture Beat says the streaming paid $90 million for back in 2018. The arrangement named Twitch the one and only home of those streams, but the partnership wasn't renewed after its original two year period ended.

Now, YouTube Gaming has a similar arrangement in place for all of Activision Blizzard’s esports events, though a though the cost of doing so wasn’t attached to today’s announcement. That major grab comes as some third party analysts report Twitch’s viewership starts to slip, allowing would-be usurpers like YouTube Gaming, Facebook Gaming, and Mixer to take a bigger slice of the streaming pie.

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