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720 Noscope Buyout: Activision Blizzard Rekt MLG

Creating "the ESPN of esports"

Pound your airhorn, crank up the dubstep, and scream Internet memes as if that level of 'irony' makes you any less irritating: Major League Gaming got totally #rekt. [My office, after work, bring a phone book and a sock filled with £3 in pennies -ed.]

Monolithic publisher Activision Blizzard has bought up the digital sports organisation, which hosts big tournaments and streams all sorts of competitive gaming things online. The acquisition comes as part of Activision's plans to, in company head honch Bobby Kotick's words, "create the ESPN of esports".

First off, yes, MLG will continue to run big stadium tournaments and tours as well as its GameBattles online tournament platform, and they won't be restricted to Activision games. Heck, MLG are barely involved with Activision games nowadays. Despite Call of Duty being a big driver of past MLG successes, only a few months ago Activision turned to the ESL, a rival of MLG, to help run their Call of Duty World League. So why pick up a flagging, indebted company? To bolster the Activision Blizzard Media Networks division with "proven live streaming capabilities and technologies", they say.

Bobby Kotick explained more of their vision in the announcement:

"Our acquisition of Major League Gaming's business furthers our plans to create the ESPN of esports. MLG's ability to create premium content and its proven broadcast technology platform – including its live streaming capabilities – strengthens our strategic position in competitive gaming. MLG has an incredibly strong and seasoned team and a thriving community. Together, we will create new ways to celebrate players and their unique skills, dedication and commitment to gaming."

Does your skin also crawl reading phrases like "MLG's ability to create premium content"?

Pip's our digital sports expert but she's away right now, ironically to see the Smite World Championship - which MLG are involved with. I feel a bit like a clown filling in for her, twisting sausage balloons into the shape of ill-informed statements. Wakka wakka, look at me. Put me on a pedestal, and I'll only disappoint you. However! While reading around this, I tripped over my giant clown shoes and landed face-first in this creamy eSports Observer piece about how the CoD World League may have been driven away by MLG requiring players to use the MLG.tv streaming platform, and thought "That sounds like something Activision would love if they were running it themselves."

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Alice O'Connor avatar

Alice O'Connor

Associate Editor

Alice has been playing video games since SkiFree and writing about them since 2009, with nine years at RPS. She enjoys immersive sims, roguelikelikes, chunky revolvers, weird little spooky indies, mods, walking simulators, and finding joy in details. Alice lives, swims, and cycles in Scotland.