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Activision unveils new games content in push for growth

Publisher Activision Blizzard continues to stake its claim as the ESPN of competitive video games, or e-sports, as it announces new content to improve the experience for viewers.

At the IAB's Digital Content NewFronts conference on Thursday, Activision revealed the Enhanced Viewing Experience (EVE) for its MLG.tv streaming platform, which it acquired earlier this year. EVE will provide viewers with match statistics, leader boards and insights about the players and the game.

Activision also announced new content coming to the platform, which will include competition highlights, interviews with players and regular news segments, as well as plans to broadcast e-sport competitions on Facebook.


16 teams from the UK, France, USA, Spain and Germany competed at Call of Duty World League ESWC 2016 in May
Activision Blizzard Media Networks
16 teams from the UK, France, USA, Spain and Germany competed at Call of Duty World League ESWC 2016 in May

Mike Sepso, senior vice president of Activision Blizzard Media Networks, explained why EVE would appeal to e-sports fans.

"A linear broadcast, whether digital or traditional television, didn't tell the whole story of what was happening in real time in e-sports and as a new type of sport it really deserves its own type of viewing experience," Sepso told CNBC during a phone interview.

"It's able to come up with analytics that are supposed to further tell the story of the players and the teams that are in competition."

Sepso said that the company's short term goal with e-sports was on expanding the gaming experience for fans, while in the long-term they believe there's potential for a big media business around competitive gaming.

He also explained how the company intends to expand the audience for e-sports and how it can become a more traditional, mainstream sport.

"Sport is driven by the storylines and the personalities of the players and that's kind of a universal appeal of sport," he said. "So our focus… is to really celebrate the players and bring those stories to the forefront.

"That's what we think will engage a much larger, especially millennial, audience with the sport."

According to video game market researchers Newzoo, the number of consumers worldwide who are aware of e-sports is expected to exceed one billion this year, up 36 percent on last year, and the total audience for e-sports will reach 292 million.

"More and more publishers have also started to push their franchises as e-sports titles. They have seen the possibilities that e-sports gives to engage a player base and community outside of the game," Newzoo said in a press release.

"E-sports events are also being used more and more as a pre-launch marketing tool, giving players the tools (e.g. custom matchmaking, spectator modes, etc.) to develop community leagues themselves."

Activision's new content will launch in June to coincide with the MLG Anaheim Open, a two-day tournament where teams will play "Call of Duty: Black Ops III" for a $100,000 prize pool.

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