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It kind of seems like a long time in the making but Activision has finally jumped in on the eSports bandwagon. The company announced today that they have a very specific division dedicated to the company's budding eSports presence.
The announcement was made over on the investor's section of Activision's main website, where former CEO of EPSN and the NFL Network, Steve Bornstein, was named as the division's new president, and the co-foudner and president of Major League Gaming, Mike Sepso, will serve as the vice president of the new eSports division at Activision.
Steve Bornstein commented about the new position and the direction that the company is going in when it comes to the burgeoning market of competitive, electronic sports, saying...
Last year, Activision Blizzard created entertainment that was viewed and played by over 150 million people for more than 13 billion hours, [...] I believe esports will rival the biggest traditional sports leagues in terms of future opportunities, and between advertising, ticket sales, licensing, sponsorships and merchandising, there are tremendous growth areas for this nascent industry. I'm excited to help Activision Blizzard further its leadership position in esports.
According to some market reports from various research firms, eSports is already set to rival some major league sports in the United States, and will catch up to leagues like the NHL by 2018. Activate estimates that eSports will be a $1.2 billion market in just three years time and that globally it will be worth $4 billion, fueled mostly by the Southeast Asian demographic.
Previous reports have also indicated that eSports is already on target to make more than half a billion this year alone. The market is skyrocketing thanks to better internet service utilities and mediums in which to engage in the content, such as YouTube and Twitch.tv.
In fact, YouTube Gaming is a sub-channel from the video Goliath wholly dedicated to live-streaming video games. Market reports indicate that millennials will make up for a large part of driving revenue to gaming through video content and through eSports.
Now does seem to be the perfect time to really start investing heavily into establishing platforms and market representation for brands that are popular within eSports.
Activision also has a very strong library of games at the moment that have undeniable sway on the eSports scene, including Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft 2 and Call of Duty. In fact, Activision recently announced a Call of Duty annual championship with a $3 million prize pool. This followed on Microsoft announcing that Halo 5 would be looking to take the crown from Call of Duty in the eSports arena with its own tournament planned for later this year.
Destiny is also growing rapidly and is claimed to be the most watched console game on Twitch at the moment. Establishing a professional league around Destiny wouldn't be a bad way to go about it – striking the brand while the iron is hot.
It will be interesting to see what Activision does with the division moving forward, but they certainly know that they want to get in on the eSports action in a more legitimate way. The only thing they're missing now is a fighting game and then they'll be able to have a strong presence in the FGC.