Blizzard buys IGN Pro League technology and assets to form new eSports-oriented San Francisco office
Blizzard has acquired IPL (IGN Pro League) assets, technology, and crew for its continued push into competitive gaming, the company announced today. These purchases will form the basis of a new, San Francisco-based team “whose primary focus will be on creating high-quality web and mobile content in support of Blizzard games.”
To understand what this means, we have to jump back – last week, Blizzard announced an overhaul to the StarCraft II World Championship Series that included new global partners for broadcasting and more than $1.6 million in prize money. “There will also be a central hub created for fans to watch the games, follow the storylines, and get all information related to the World Championship Series,” Rod “Slasher” Breslau wrote in his GameSpot coverage of the announcement.
This also comes on the heels of Breslau and Marcus “djWHEAT” Graham's PAX East panel on eSports, where Graham predicted that developer-led coverage of their game's competitive scene would become increasingly common. “When you look at a game like League of Legends and what Riot is doing, they control their own game,” Graham said. “If they think they know how to cover their game better, fuck yeah, they should code something into their game to facilitate that.”
This move by Blizzard seems to fit within that prediction. Will we see something like lolesports.com, where StarCraft II fans can go to check in on their teams? The “central hub” Breslau was talking about? Or maybe Blizzard will expand the new team into something that eventually replaces the need for partners – which it is currently using for the 2013 World Championship Series – so that they handle all of their own coverage.
Peer Schneider, executive vice president of IGN, said that the company would take a more “agnostic” approach to eSports coverage in the future. “Following Blizzard’s acquisition of IPL assets, IGN will partner with multiple organizations and cover their events,” Schneider is quoted in Blizzard's release.