The ESPN Of Video Games

activision-mlgThe biggish news in eSports this week was the acquisition of Major League Gaming — the eSports league — by one of the largest game publishers, Activision Blizzard.

This acquisition signals the intent of Activision, in the words of their CEO, to become “the ESPN of video games.” I guess that means he wants to make Activision into the most valuable publishing property in the world for eSports.

There’s a lot of hand-wringing in the gaming press about about the skeeviness of Activision and the whorishness of MLG, and predictions about a giant sell-out entity not being able to attract *real* gamers and a healthy community.

Maybe that’s true but I think the inherent conflicts of interest (game publishing + journalism + gaming leagues!) and lack of vision (back to tv?) by Activision are enough to keep this merger from really taking off. It’s too mis-aligned IMVHO.

I don’t think ESPN will step in and take over eSport publishing either — their demo is just too different and I don’t think they “get” this stuff.

My prediction: This happy mess of an industry — eSports — will get to the point where a real League will form out of a group of relatively equal communities. Like what happened with credit cards or the NBA, etc.

It isn’t about the money or the chest beating — the publisher-led gaming communities are the center of gravity here.

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