Blizzard announces IPL staff hires and opening of new office in San Francisco
Following the buyout of IGN and its changing strategy, the company has now officially sold the IGN Pro League competitive gaming division to Blizzard, who will be taking on a number of the staff, technology and assets. There will also be a new office in San Francisco, California, with 23 employees to create content around Blizzard titles.
You may remember a month ago when we reported the rumoured and inevitable cancellation of the IGN Pro League 6 tournament in Vegas, leaving thousands of fans rushing to try and recoup costs.
“This new team will help us to further develop the rich media experiences that extend the fun and engagement of our games online,” said Itzik Ben-Bassat. “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.”
This is big news in the eSports community that follows days after the announcement of a $1.6 million StarCraft World Championship Series (WCS) tournament by Blizzard in partnership with existing eSports organizations, featuring three seasons over the year of 2013 with world finals at Blizzcon and the promise of bigger plans for 2014, including entirely offline play (in a studio).
While this is great news for the eSports community, it is unfortunate for the Fighting Game Community, who would have been hoping for the return of IPL and their tournaments
Moving back to what this means for Blizzard fans, the most obvious benefit is that Blizzard will be increasing its media content creation for all titles. Given that Blizzard said it would support any competitive scene that comes out of Hearthstone, the newly announced card game, and will be developing competitive features for the mysterious Titan project, this is obviously a longer term plan for Blizzard.
For a while, the Starcraft community has watched as Riot pumped millions into their competitive title while Blizzard failed to make any major commitments to their own game; which has certainly hurt the scene.
However, these recent announcements show that Blizzard is willing to make a full commitment to supporting its competitive titles and we can look forward to an exciting future of competition.