YouTube Signs Exclusive Streaming Deal For Activision E-sports

Sergs Navarrete

Activision Blizzard has officially entered into a multiyear partnership with Google that will cover the game hosting and other technical needs. The biggest part of this deal however,  is that YouTube will become the exclusive streaming partner for all of the game publisher’s big e-sports titles, including the upcoming season of the Overwatch League and the Call of Duty League. This deal is a huge win for YouTube, which has struggled to compete with its game streaming rival Twitch, despite YouTube being the largest video site in the world. Twitch was the exclusive streaming partner for Activision Blizzard’s first two seasons of the Overwatch League and has also been the go-to place for live gaming entertainment.

Since its launch in 2015, YouTube Gaming failed to grow as its own section of the broader YouTube ecosystem, and earlier this year, the company even rethought their idea of the standalone YouTube Gaming app because its existence caused “confusion” among viewers. Yet the failure of YouTube Gaming as its own platform hasn’t stopped the video site from continuing to capture more of the live-streaming market. YouTube has recently signed streaming exclusivity deals with top creators like Jack “CouRage” Dunlop and Lachlan Power over the course of a few months. Even though many streamers still remain on Twitch or have moved over to Microsoft’s streaming site Mixer, YouTube is still the main platform where content creators post highlight videos, vlogs, and other content.

With this in mind, this Activision partnership is another participant in the ongoing streaming war that is playing out between these online video platforms and streaming services. In this case, it would be Google-owned YouTube, Amazon-owned Twitch, and Facebook who are trying to capitalize on the popularity of gaming content. However, it seems like it would be a matter of time until other streaming platforms like Disney or Netflix take part in this as well. “With more than 200 million gamers a day watching more than 50 billion hours of gaming content per year, YouTube provides gamers and their passionate fans with the most popular video gaming platform in the world,” Ryan Wyatt, YouTube’s head of gaming, said in a statement.