Blizzard Entertainment purchased technology and assets of the IGN Pro League (IPL) from IGN, the studio announced today.
In addition to acquiring the league, Blizzard will set up a new San Francisco-based team composed of some IPL staffers to focus on "creating high-quality web and mobile content in support of Blizzard games," the company said in statement today. Other former IPL employees have joined Blizzard's existing eSports team. GameSpot reports that 23 IPL staffers, including broadcaster Kevin Knocke and general manager David Ting, are joining Blizzard.
Itzik Ben-Bassat, Blizzard's executive vice president of publishing, said the San Francisco team "will help [Blizzard] to further develop the rich media experiences that extend the fun and engagement of our games online."
IGN closed 1UP, UGO and GameSpy in February, and laid off a number of employees. Vivek Shah, CEO of IGN parent Ziff Davis, said at the time in an internal memo obtained by Polygon that the company was looking to sell IPL. A few weeks afterward, IGN announced that it was canceling IPL 6, an eSports tournament that had been scheduled to take place in Las Vegas at the end of March.
In Blizzard's statement today, IGN executive vice president Peer Schneider said, "Following Blizzard's acquisition of IPL assets, IGN will partner with multiple organizations and cover their events." Schneider added that IGN wanted to "become agnostic in [its] competitive gaming coverage" amid the "continuing evolution of the eSports space."
The statement says that Blizzard's new team will support Blizzard titles; previous IPL tournaments hosted competitions for games from a variety of companies, including Blizzard's StarCraft 2, Ubisoft's ShootMania Storm and Riot Games' League of Legends. We've reached out to Blizzard to ask whether its plans for eSports competitions include non-Blizzard games, and will update this article with any response we receive.
Blizzard told GameSpot last month that it was interested in bringing on some members of the IPL team, and was exploring the acquisition of IPL technology and assets.
"But again this is to support our own initiatives and does not have anything to do with any Blizzard-related continuation of the IPL," the company said at the time.
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