When we talk about the streaming wars, we are usually talking about Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and the rest. However, the battle has been heating up over on the gaming side of things, with Twitch losing some ground to Mixer, Facebook, and YouTube. This week, an announcement from Activision brings that divide a little closer because of a new partnership with Google.
The two companies have signed a multi-year deal in the eSports market. Activision will use Google Cloud as its backbone for competition systems, but that is far from the most interesting part of the agreement. The significant aspect of the deal is that all Activision eSports competitions will stream exclusively on YouTube (with the exception of China). This means that YouTube, which has had trouble gaining traction in game streaming, will become the only place to watch official Call of Duty, Hearthstone, and Overwatch tournaments.
This move comes at a time when YouTube has been mired in controversy around the data it collects about children. A non-trivial percentage of game streaming viewers are under 13, meaning that this could bring that issue to a head once again.
The company seems less concerned about the negative consequences. The company's head of gaming, Ryan Wyatt, said,
Both the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League are the quintessential examples of world class esports content. As a former Call of Duty esports commentator myself, I couldn't be more excited for Activision Blizzard to choose YouTube as its exclusive home for the digital live streaming of both leagues. This partnership further demonstrates our dedication to having a world class live streaming product for gaming.
Activision's Call of Duty League season started today, January 24, 2020, with 12 teams battling it out in Minnesota. The Overwatch League season will kick off on February 8, 2020. Both events are available exclusively on each league's official YouTube channel.