Activision Blizzard Launches New Division Devoted to eSports

Activision Blizzard has decided to open a new eSports division appointing former ESPN & NFL CEO Steve Bornstein as its Chairman, as well as MLG co-founder/president Mike Sepso as Senior VP.

This strategic move coincides with a recent annoncement that Activision Blizzard plans to host an Investor’s Day straight from the BlizzCon showfloor on November 6th.

activision-blizzard-logoSANTA MONICA, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)– Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) today announced a new division that will build on the Company’s competitive gaming leadership by creating all-new ways to deliver the best-in-class fan experience across games, platforms and geographies, furthering the development of its world-leading esports ecosystem. Former CEO of ESPN and the NFL Network Steve Bornstein will serve as the division’s Chairman and Mike Sepso, who was most recently a co-founder and president of Major League Gaming (MLG), will serve as its Senior Vice President.

“Celebrating our players and their unique skill, dedication and commitment is the essence of our esports initiatives,” said Bobby Kotick , Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard . “Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Publishing have been leaders in the development of esports. With that leadership, our strong franchises, our deep history and experience in esports, and now two additional industry leaders, we intend to further enhance our efforts and make certain this remains an important growth driver for Activision Blizzard.”

Kotick added, “There are no better leaders for this new initiative than Steve and Mike. Steve has unparalleled experience in creating a sports network powerhouse and his groundbreaking leadership at ESPN and the NFL Network shaped how the whole world experiences sports. Mike’s entrepreneurial vision helped make ‘esports’ a household word and he is uniquely positioned to take the experience to the next level.”

“Last year, Activision Blizzard created entertainment that was viewed and played by over 150 million people for more than 13 billion hours,” said Steve Bornstein , Chairman of the new division and former CEO of ESPN and the NFL Network. “I believe esports will rival the biggest traditional sports leagues in terms of future opportunities, and between advertising, ticket sales, licensing, sponsorships and merchandising, there are tremendous growth areas for this nascent industry. I’m excited to help Activision Blizzard further its leadership position in esports.”

“As a member of the esports community for over 12 years, I couldn’t be more excited for the future of the sport. I am confident that the company’s industry-leading content will capture the many opportunities we have to entertain and celebrate our players,” said Mike Sepso, Senior Vice President for Activision Blizzard . “Activision Blizzard is uniquely positioned to give millions of fans around the world what they want, and I’m excited to help support this community in a way that honors its history.”

Activision Blizzard has a rich history in esports:

  • Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft® was the early pioneer in large-scale mainstream, televised esports, since the 1990s.

  • Blizzard Entertainment has many of the world’s biggest and most beloved esports competitions. This year’s BlizzCon® event will take place November 6-7 in Anaheim, Calif. and will feature the global finals for StarCraft® II, World of Warcraft®, Heroes of the Storm™ and Hearthstone®. Players have been competing for more than $4 million in prizes across Road to BlizzCon tournaments.

  • Earlier this year, Blizzard Entertainment launched Heroes of the Dorm™, the first collegiate esports event to be televised on ESPN2. More than 6,000 collegiate players, representing 460-plus schools, competed in the tournament with the winning team from UC Berkeley securing the grand prize of fully-paid tuition for each of its members.

  • Activision Publishing hosts the annual Call of Duty Championship. Call of Duty® is the top console esports franchise in the world.

  • On September 24, 2015 , Activision Publishing announced the creation of the Call of Duty® World League , which provides a $3 million prize pool to professional and amateur players.

  • Since its launch, Destiny has become the most watched console game on Twitch.

 

Legacy of the Void Short Story: Ascension

Blizzard Entertainment posted today the first of five Legacy of the Void short stories that expand the StarCraft universe’s lore. Ascension (by Robert Brooks) delves into the Chain of Ascension of the Tal’darim tribe. Read all of the new short stories here.

The Tal’Darim Protoss serve Amon, operating in a clearly defined hierarchy known as the Chain of Ascension, where all are compelled to obey those who stand above them.

Alarak, being the Fourth Ascendant, is one of the most powerful among the Tal’Darim. Eager to serve Amon and further his own power, Alarak is presented with a choice that will change his future, and that of his people, forever.

“Amon cannot die,” Alarak said. You heretical lunatic, he didn’t add. But then a new thought occurred to him. This is a test. It had to be. Nuroka did not seem insane. No. His eyes had not the touch. He was simply testing Alarak’s loyalty to Amon in a dramatic way. Alarak clung to that thought. “It would be easier to destroy every star in the galaxy,” he said. “Amon gives us life. He shares with us the Breath of Creation. What would the Tal’darim be without His guidance?”

Learn the story behind StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void starting with “Ascension”, a grim yet revealing tale about the lives and pursuits of the Tal’Darim Protoss. We hope you enjoy it, as well as the additional stories arriving in the coming weeks.

Legacy of the Void Short Story: Ascension

 

NYCC 2015 – James Waugh’s StarCraft Field Manual Signing Schedule

New York Times Bestselling Author James Waugh will be signing copies of the new Insight Editions book:
StarCraft Field Manual. Pre-order now!

The signing event is scheduled to happen on Saturday, October 10th from 1:00pm to 2:00pm at Booth # 1765.

 

 

StarCraft Field Manual

Product Description

Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft saga has captivated millions of players worldwide since its release in 1998. A genre-defying military strategy and sci-fi adventure, StarCraft has enthralled gamers with its immersive gameplay and thrilling storyline chronicling the battle between the scrappy terrans, the mystifying protoss, and the terrifying zerg Swarm.

The StarCraft II: Field Manual draws on more than a decade’s worth of lore to create an all-encompassing collector’s item for fans. Presented as an official Dominion Marine Corps–issued combat handbook that has been misplaced by its owner, the book pairs stunning original illustrations and propaganda posters with an engaging narrative that showcases the vital statistics, origins, and history of each unit, vehicle, and building. From an analysis of zerg infestation to the Dominion’s tactical recommendations for what to do upon encountering a colossus (Run!), the StarCraft II: Field Manual covers everything a grunt in the embattled Koprulu sector needs to know.

Copyright © 2015 Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved. Blizzard Entertainment and Starcraft are trademarks or registered trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., in the U.S. and/or other countries.

Format: Hardbound
Categories: Gaming.
Published on: 11/17/2015
ISBN: 9781608874507
Pages: 160
Size: 11 x 8.5

About the Author: Rick Barba is the author of several titles in the gaming genre, including Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm Strategy Guide. He lives in Louisville, CO.

 

 

 

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Launches Nov 10, 2015

Blizzard Entertainment unveiled the StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void opening cinematic featuring the reclamation of Aiur. This is by far the most realistic cinematic showing protoss zealots, templars, and even an archon fighting waves of zerg.

Legacy of the Void will be officially launched on November 10, 2015. Pre-order now here
to get guaranteed access to beta, plus FREE shipping.

Legacy of the Void

You’ll also get immediate access to the three-mission Prologue: “Whispers of Oblivion“, the multiplayer beta, automated tournaments, Archon mode, and more! Remember, purchasing Legacy of the Void unlocks the playable Artanis Warrior Hero in Heroes of the Storm.

Or get the Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void Collector’s Edition (plus all the Standard Edition bonuses).

Blizzard Entertainment Trademarks Compete

Blizzard Entertainment trademarked the word Compete within the past six days as an internet-based system to organize and promote eSport tournaments, create brackets and more.

On paper this sounds like an in-game Battlefy or Challonge feature to support StarCraft II, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm eSports. This is just speculation on my end. Recently, I posted Blizzard is announcing a new StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void feature at TwitchCon.

Compete

Providing an online non-downloadable Internet-based system application featuring technology enabling users to organize and promote e-sports tournaments, to create and customize tournament brackets and ladders, track tournament progress, maintain related statistics, and post results

compete-trademark

 

TwitchCon 2015 – StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Hands-on and Content Reveal?

TwitchCon 2015 has announced its roster of playable games at the event including the presence of Blizzard Entertainment with a playable version of StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void at the computer stations.

It’s quite intriguing the mention of a content reveal at this event for Legacy of the Void. We already know about the Automated tournaments, Archon Mode, and Allied Commanders features, but this “content reveal” seems to indicate something Blizzard hasn’t yet announced.

TwitchCon 2015 will take place on September 25-26 at the Moscone West, San Francisco. Tickets may be purchased here.

Exhibitors

TwitchCon Attendees can get hands-on with the latest games and products from dozens of exhibitors at TwitchCon 2015. Here’s some of the brands you can expect to see:

  • Blizzard will have a playable version of Legacy of the Void, the final chapter of StarCraft II, along with the reveal of new content.

Moscone West
800 Howard St (at the corner of Fourth St)
San Francisco, CA 94103

Pre-order now Legacy of the Void for some sweet extra content.

Legacy of the Void is finally available on the Battle.net shop, like when Warlords of Draenor was available there, content for other Blizzard game can be received when pre-ordering the standard or digitale deluxe edition.

Mention of a new character for Heroes of the Storm, a Warrior from the Starcraft universe is only available on the Battle.net advertisement. Who could it be?

Pre-order now Legacy of the Void for some sweet extra content.

E3 2015 – PCGamer StarCraft II: Whispers of Oblivion Prologue Missions Announced

During the PCGamer’s PC Gaming Show held at E3 2015, Day9 interviewed Chris Sigaty and Dustin Browder to talk about the new expansion StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void.

The developers revealed there will be three prologue missions: Whispers of Oblivion. Something nobody expected, taking fans by sheer surprise. It’s the return of the classic StarCraft campaigns?

Below you can watch the E3 2015 PC Gaming Show video, our transcript, and at the bottom of this page: what Blizzard provided us as press at E3 to show you, including screenshots, concept art and a video.

This is a transcript of the video shown below:

Video Transcript

Day9: Since I have you both here, I want to talk about a game that seems that it would actually get the end to the storyline that began like seventeen years ago. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, oh my God.

Sigaty: It’s super exciting, we are so excited about it and honestly very humbling to be a part of it because these stories around Jim Raynor, around Zeratul, Artanis, Kerrigan; these have been going on since the original StarCraft and then here with StarCraft II we are sort of finishing those in this epic conclusion and it’s coming soon. So we are very, very excited about it.

e3-2015-starcraft-ii-whispers-of-oblivion-1

Day9: What is it like to you guys personally to see the end of the storyline so close?

Sigaty: It’s humbling, it’s somewhat emotional honestly to have worked on it so long and see it come to this and it’s certainly not the end, we have a lot in store for StarCraft II; but the story around these heroes, these characters is happening with Legacy of the Void so very excited to share.

Day9: We also have a special video piece so that you can know where the story ended at the end of Heart of the Swarm. Let’s take a look at the Whispers of Oblivion.

Day9: What does it mean to have prologue missions and when the hell can I play them?

Sigaty: Whispers of Oblivion is connecting, it’s really the story of Zeratul who we haven’t seen other than in cutscenes in Heart of the Swarm and it connects the end of Heart of the Swarm to the beginning of Legacy of the Void and it’s a three mission series that connects those things, Zeratul is focused on finding the final clues to the Zel’Naga prophecy and he puts those things together; you get a chance to play it.

starcraft-ii-whispers-of-oblivion-artwork

Browder: You know we left Heart of the Swarm, we’ve got the Terrans trying to put together their destroyed civilization from the end of that game; at the same time we’ve got Kerrigan the queen goddess of the Zerg who has sworn to destroy this dark creature called Amon who is making these monstrous hybrid creatures by combining Protoss and Zerg DNA with forbidden and foul technologies and she’s off in deep space trying to destroy this creature and this is the opportunity for the Protoss.

Now to finally re-take their home world to finally retake Aiur they lost so many years ago back in the original StarCraft game; and we’ve got Zeratul running around at the same time trying to put these prophecies back together.

These thee missions will give you a chance to sort of catch up a little bit and understand more about this prophecy. All of these missions will be free to all players regardless of whether you’ve bought or purchased StarCraft at all so it’s free to the world; but if you want early access you need to pre-purchase Legacy of the Void and we’ll have a lot more details about that coming in the next month.

e3-2015-starcraft-ii-whispers-of-oblivion-2

Day9: I know so many people are huge fans of the single player of Legacy of the Void;but how do you balance working on that versus the multiplayer component with such a huge eSport scene?

Browder: It’s a real complicated process of having two teams and we have one group of guys whose sole focus is on the eSports experience, the multiplayer experience and making sure players can get into and understand that experience.

We’ve got a whole other group of guys whose whole job is to make sure that we’ve got this amazing campaign experience. We’ve also got other guys working on arcade systems to make sure that we’ve got the best mod tools out that we can possibly provide our players.

The real challenge, of course, is trying to keep everybody connected; but everybody is so focused on making their part of the game a great amazing experience, just making sure they sort of sync up is the big challenge.

Day9: I’m excited for the final end of the story. I’m excited for the new units at the final release, gentlemen. Thank you so much for coming out.

Chris Sigaty and Dustin Browder from Blizzard Entertainment. Thanks so much for coming out.

e3-2015-starcraft-ii-whispers-of-oblivion-3

 

Press: Whispers of Oblivion Screenshots

 

Press: Cinematic Screenshots

 

 

Legacy of the Void Prologue – Whispers of Oblivion Trailer

Note: Special thanks to our transcriber rettep. Read the transcript of the E3 2015 StarCraft II: Whispers of Oblivion announcement; and listen to our E3 2015 interviews with Extra-Life (Jeromy “Doc” Adams) and Heroes of the Storm (Phil Gonzales and Alan Dabiri).

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