Activision Blizzard Inc.’s league for the Call of Duty first-person-shooter game -- launches Friday in Minneapolis, as the the video-gaming giant further expands to esports.
The battle begins Jan. 24 with the Call of Duty League Launch Weekend, hosted by the Minnesota RØKKR – the Call of Duty League team operated by WISE Ventures Esports, under ownership of the Wilf Family (owners of the Minnesota Vikings), and investor Gary Vaynerchuk. All 12 professional Call of Duty League teams will compete across three days during the opening weekend of the regular season. The Call of Duty League follows a home-vs-away format with 5-versus-5 professional match play.
Call of Duty League Launch Weekend also features the season’s first Call of Duty Challengers Open, where amateur players from around the world can compete as teams in an open bracket tournament format.
The company expects several thousand fans to attend a three-day fest that will include matches among the new league’s 12 city teams, as well as musical acts.
The new league has the advantage of massive popularity for its underlying game series. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was the best-selling game in the U.S. for three consecutive months after its October launch, and finished 2019 as the best-selling game of the year, according to NPD Group.
Activision is trying to ecome the biggest operator of professional esports leagues, where video-game players square off in front of large audiences. The company already runs the popular Overwatch league.
Activision will also sell broadcast rights to the matches and has sponsors such as Sony’s PlayStation, Logitech International SA’s Astro Gaming and the U.S. Air Force.
While Asia is the largest region for esports viewership, North America leads in revenue. The most lucrative leagues are likely Riot Games Inc.’s League of Legends and Valve Corp.’s Dota 2.
Activision Blizzard also annpunced today a parnership with Google. Google Cloud will serve as the preferred provider for Activision Blizzard's game hosting infrastructure and YouTube as its exclusive streaming partner worldwide, excluding China, for live broadcasts of its esports leagues and events — including Overwatch League, Call of Duty League, Hearthstone Esports, and more.
Activision promises that |players will benefit by experiencing premium network quality-of-service, including low latency and packet loss when playing high-fidelity games on any device.| They will also have personalized interactions, as Activision Blizzard can tap into Google Cloud's AI tools to offer curated recommendations for in-game offers and differentiated gaming experiences.