Activision Blizzard, the developers behind Call of Duty, Hearthstone and many more eSports titles, have announced that that it’s creating a new division focused on its “esports ecosystem”, rounding off an amazing 2015 with a strong push for next year.
While details are scarce around what the division is planning, Steve Bornstein, former CEO of ESPN and the NFL Network, and Mike Sepso, former president of Major League Gaming are being trusted with the newest un-named brand. Sepso has started work at Activision Blizzard about a month ago.
“I’ve been in the eSports space for a really long time,” MLG co-founder and former president Mike Sepso told Polygon. “I’ve worked with Activision and Blizzard for many, many years and I’ve always been a big fan of the company. When a senior team presented this opportunity to me, it seemed like a chance to fulfill a lot of big goals.”
According to news, the division will sit alongside Activision Publishing and Blizzard Entertainment as a new, third subsidiary of Activision Blizzard. The new division wasn’t named in the release, but as GamesBeat reported in August, Blizzard Entertainment recently registered the name Compete for an esports-related offering. Other than that, neither the company nor Sepso were willing to detail how the new division will approach its work in eSports.
Speaking in a pre-prepared statement, Bornstein highlighted just how large the eSports industry is, saying: “Last year, Activision Blizzard created entertainment that was viewed and played by over 150 million people for more than 13 billion hours” in their gaming PCs.
“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,” Bornstein also said. “I’m excited to help Activision Blizzard further its leadership position in this exciting growth area.”
The company’s next big esports event takes place on November 6 and November 7 in Anaheim, California. Teams of gamers will compete in the global finals for Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft II, World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, and Hearthstone. The total prize pool adds up to more than $4 million.
With so little information about this new e-sport division, we only know that as eSports continue to grow at a rapid rate, who knows where the industry will be in a year’s time.