Activision Blizzard have confirmed they've signed a new, exclusive deal with YouTube for the rights to stream live all their esports events and content for Overwatch, Call of Duty, Hearthstone, and World of Warcraft.
Twitch previously held exclusive rights in a two-year deal with the company outside of China, although that deal only covered Overwatch League. In a statement, Activision Blizzard CEO of Esports, Pete Vlastelica, stated;
This is an exciting year for Activision Blizzard Esports as we head into the inaugural season of Call of Duty League and our first ever season of homestands for Overwatch League all around the world. It’s our mission to deliver high-quality competitive entertainment that our fans can follow globally, live or on-demand, and to celebrate our players as the superstars that they are. This partnership will help us deliver on that promise at new levels, by combining our passionate communities of fans and players with YouTube’s powerful content platform and exciting history of supporting next-generation entertainment.
This is a significant gain for YouTube in the livestream space. While YouTube is often the go-to destination for pre-recorded content, it has struggled to steal dominance away from Twitch when it comes to live content.
This deal will be sure to attract more fans of these games to their platform, with Overwatch League being one of the most popular streams on Twitch during 2019. As for the long term hopes of livestreams on YouTube in general, at least in a gaming sense, that remains to be seen.