Blizzard purchasing IGNProLeague technology and assets

Warcraft studio confirms buyout of IPL; several staffers will head to Blizzard to support existing games and to work on eSports team.

Blizzard Entertainment announced today that it has purchased IGN Pro League technology and assets from the company. In addition, Blizzard has hired several members of the IPL staff to create a new team based in San Francisco, California.

This team's primary goal will be creating "high-quality web and mobile content" to support various Blizzard games. Meanwhile, some IPL staff are now working on Blizzard's eSports team.

It is likely that some of the new additions from IPL will work on Blizzard's newly unveiled 2013 World Championship Series.

"This new team will help us to further develop the rich media experiences that extend the fun and engagement of our games online," said Blizzard executive vice president of publishing Itzik Ben-Bassat in a statement.

A total of 23 employees and some equipment used to produce content will be heading to Blizzard, including former IPL General Manager David Ting, who sources said got to pick as many people to bring with him as he liked. Those who will be going with him include the main IPL executive and production teams, and talent such as Kevin Knocke, who is one of StarCraft’s most prolific casters and announcers.

"This is a team of passionate gamers with a proven track record, and we're looking forward to now leveraging their expertise and technology to support a variety of online efforts," the statement goes on.

Commenting on the deal, IGN executive vice president Peer Schneider said the transaction with Blizzard was a result of the natural evolution of eSports.

"With the continuing evolution of the eSports space and the renewed focus on our core media brand, we made the decision to sell the IGN Pro League technology and assets and become agnostic in our competitive gaming coverage," Schneider said in a statement. "Following Blizzard’s acquisition of IPL assets, IGN will partner with multiple organizations and cover their events."

With Blizzard's purchase of the IGNProLeague, the IPL brand and structure is effectively dead, and will no longer run major tournaments. This includes tournaments for StarCraft II, but also other games that they have featured previously including Riot Games' League of Legends and Ubisoft's Shootmania. This past weekend's $100,000 Shootmania launch event was the last event the IPL organization will run.

Last month, Blizzard denied speculation to GameSpot that it would be purchasing the IGN ProLeague, but left room open for hiring its employees in the field of eSports.

"There were many talented and passionate gamers working for IGN/IPL whom we feel would be valuable additions to our team," a representative from Blizzard Entertainment said at the time. "We've already extended job offers to some of the employees who've been laid off, and we plan to make offers to others who may become available soon. Obviously they bring a lot of web-development knowledge and eSports expertise, which we can use to help us with our online presence and eSports-related projects. We're also looking into picking up some of the IPL technology and other assets, but again this is to support our own initiatives and does not have anything to do with any Blizzard-related continuation of the IPL."

Check back later for an interview with Schneider about the deal.

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Discussion

30 comments
saint311
saint311

Blizzard has DRM, microtransactions, recycled uninnovative games, and now a F2P game and they get praised.  EA does the same and they get voted worst consumer company in America.  I love gamers!

Sardinar
Sardinar

With WCS and now this, I am a little worried with Blizzard having a hand in almost every tournament. Oh well, will see.

jeremy-
jeremy-

I personally thought that IGN Pro League was a little whorish with its content.

They took up Twitch real estate by replaying content over and over and over. Id prefer just one replay and then make it a VOD.

Dont get me wrong, they were instrumental in the growth of eSports over the past few years, but after the scene 'dulled down' a little bit, they started whoring their content in order to make a profit which was annoying.

I'm glad its in the hands of  Blizzard who can use the 'esports assets from IPL' to sell more copies of the actual game itself rather than need to turn a profit at the expensive of spamming our community.

It means they are making stuff to benefit us, not make money.

Thats how IPL started with IGN, it was something to booster the amount of people using IGN over places like this, GAMESPOT... but eventually they lost sight of the synergy and what it was actually for, and whored.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

"......including former IPL General Manager David Ting, who sources said got to pick as many people to bring with him as he liked."

Someone must have really hated Ping to let that bit of information "slip".

Cypress131
Cypress131

Happy for Starcraft.

Sad for LoL.

Meh for Shootmania.

Kr3isen
Kr3isen

Good for the people that get to keep their job, bad for me becouse now i wont get to watch any more LoL tourneys from these guys :(.

jhonMalcovich
jhonMalcovich

Thanks to Blizzard we, some day, will have a western pro player who´ll be able to beat a bronze league Korean.

echn923
echn923

You actually think they are supposed to "benefit us, not make money" - a bit naive about the real world are we?

In the same way that people work for a living to make money to survive, companies exist to make money, not to benefit the odd video game geek.  If you think that's "whoring" then you've got a seriously deluded/naive, and arrogant view, of the way things work.

jeremy-
jeremy-

@echn923 So, twitch is a community of what in the marketing world would probably be referred to as 'lead users', or 'early adopters' of technology. Esports in a scene in growth. IGN was never particularly successful, sure there 100k tournaments pulled viewers in, like throwing 100k at something should, but most of the time their weekly events had about 1/5 the viewership of a single user like Oddone, Dyrus, or in starcraft and at the time, idra could have 3x, 4x, 5x as many views. WHy? because their marketing was stupid. They whored content and everybody hated them. Speaking as somebody who actually used twitch, yes, businesses need to make money, but NO content provider (and all twitch users run themselves like businesses), whores their content because they dont want all twitch users to have their channel screen filled with annoying repeats. And looky here, they ended up going out of business because they wernt' drawing viewers and adding value/asset to the IGN brand. I can understand you are probably naive because you dont actually use twitch but you are wrong on many levels.

schipperz
schipperz

@Sardinar @schipperz Oh true, and i dont see blizzard ever doing something like that. Thats why i said Riot has the same problem though, since they are in the situation that the whole enviroment is pretty much held up by them. 

jeremy-
jeremy-

@echn923 YOu went from giving me a lecture on the realities of business.... and when i respond with information on the principles of marketing and how twitch works to.... "oh shutup".... an ad hominem, showing me just how intelligent you really are... You sure showed me bro.

echn923
echn923

@jeremy- @echn923 

Oh shut up.  All you're showing is that you're just a video game geek who knows nothing.