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.