In a new interview with The Verge, Treyarch and Activision have stated that this past weekend’s Call of Duty World League Pro Division Stage 1 Finals in North America was one of the most watched Call of Duty event to date. The event took place this past weekend in Burbank, CA in ESL’s Studios. The event was broadcasted across Twitch, MLG, YouTube, and in the PS4 live event viewer.
Earlier this year, Activision Blizzard acquired Major League Gaming, which Activision is using to build up their eSports infrastructure for the future. In fact, the live event viewer on PS4 in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 was built with a partnership between Treyarch and MLG. A few days after Activision Blizzard signed the deal to acquire MLG, Treyarch started work with them on implementing the feature.
“If you want to go and watch a Twitch stream, you have to look for it,” says Dan Bunting, multiplayer game director at Treyarch. “You have to know that Twitch exists, you have to know the URL, you have to know that it’s out there. And there are a lot of players who do that, but the live event viewer isn’t necessarily geared towards those players. It’s geared towards growing the audience that’s interested in e-sports.”
Treyarch wanted to do a live event viewer for Black Ops 3 from the start but did not know the fastest and best way to implement it, but with the purchase of MLG, Activision had new resources available for Treyarch to use.
“It took what easily would’ve been two or three months of work, and took it down to two or three weeks,” Martin Donlon, director of technology at Treyarch, says of the collaboration. “It’s really the kind of thing that you hope happens in an acquisition like this,” adds Sepso (Senior Vice President at Activision Blizzard), “where the teams are able to quickly gel around an idea and work to make it happen.”
Activision Blizzard has focused their initial eSports push on the Call of Duty franchise. This past year is the first time Activision have been so heavily invested in Call of Duty eSports with the introduction of the Call of Duty World League.
“We didn’t want to shy away from making a bigger statement about this,” Sepso says. “Call of Duty as a franchise sets the bar as high as you possibly can set it in terms of fan experience, and that’s what we want to be able to deliver on the e-sports side as well.”
Back in October, Activision Blizzard formed a new esports division called Media Networks, lead by former ESPN CEO and former MLG President. Activision Blizzard CEO said that this vision was to create the “ESPN of E-Sports,” but in the interview with The Verge, Mike Sepso clarified a little what that means:
“When we say we want to create the ESPN of e-sports, we don’t really mean that literally in that we want to create a cable network,” says Sepso. “What we’re saying is we want to be the branded destination for the highest quality e-sports competitions and coverage.”
SOURCE: The Verge