Google inks exclusive deal with Blizzard to stream its leagues on YouTube

Google’s cloud division will host Blizzard’s gaming infrastructure.

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Google announced today that it has signed a multi-year exclusive deal with Activision Blizzard to host its network infrastructure and stream its esports leagues on YouTube, including Overwatch League and Call of Duty League.

Google’s cloud division gets a boost — The announcement is a big win for Google Cloud, the number three cloud computing provider behind Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Cloud computing is one of Google’s largest drivers of revenue growth, and has been extremely lucrative for Amazon as it provides hosting to some of the biggest websites in the world. Google has been investing billions to build up its network of server farms.

“Players will benefit by experiencing premium network quality-of-service, including low latency and packet loss when playing high-fidelity games on any device,” the companies said in a release. “They will also have optimal 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.”

Gaming is important for YouTube — The new Call of Duty League season begins on January 24th, and all competitions will be livestreamed on YouTube and archived for on-demand viewing. Google says that 200 million users watch gaming content on YouTube daily, totaling more than 50 billion hours of gaming content per year.

YouTube is still quite a bit smaller than Amazon-owned Twitch when it comes to hours of gaming content streamed per month (not including on-demand viewing), but a recent report found that YouTube Gaming is growing in market share while Twitch is declining. Today’s news should further bolster YouTube’s position as a real home for gaming entertainment.

It’s important that YouTube get a foothold in gaming because as Twitch begins to branch out beyond the category, it risks becoming a direct competitor to YouTube as a general home for video content. Gaming content is also a lucrative category for monetization as gamers obviously spend a lot of money on hardware and games.