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Activision Blizzard And Google Enter Into Multi-Year Strategic Relationship, YouTube The New Streaming Partner For Overwatch

Where to watch Overwatch

Activision Blizzard and Google announced today a multi-year strategic relationship to power new player experiences. Google Cloud will serve as the preferred provider for Activision Blizzard's game hosting infrastructure and YouTube as its exclusive streaming partner worldwide, excluding China, for live broadcasts of its popular esports leagues and events — including Overwatch League, Call of Duty League, Hearthstone Esports, and more.

With hundreds of millions of monthly active users around the world, Activision Blizzard sought a partner to help enhance its gaming infrastructure, as well as deliver superior, low-latency player experiences. The company turned to Google Cloud because of its highly reliable global footprint, advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, and commitment to open source, creating a platform for building future gaming innovations.

Players will benefit by experiencing premium network quality-of-service, including low latency and packet loss when playing high-fidelity games on any device. 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.

"We've worked closely with Activision Blizzard for the past few years across mobile titles to boost its analytics capabilities and overall player experience," said Sunil Rayan, Head of Gaming, Google Cloud. "We are excited to now expand our relationship and help power one of the largest and most renowned game developers in the world."

"We're excited to partner with Google to drive the next generation of gaming innovation for the industry. Google Cloud's best-in-class infrastructure gives us the confidence to deliver great entertainment to our fans around the world," said Jacques Erasmus, Chief Information Officer, Activision Blizzard.

Additionally, beginning this week, YouTube will host the official live broadcasts of Activision Blizzard's popular esports leagues and events including the newly created Call of Duty League, Overwatch League, Hearthstone Esports, and more. The inaugural Call of Duty League season kicks off on Friday, January 24, with 12 teams competing in Minnesota, and the Overwatch League's 2020 season will follow on February 8. All competitions will be livestreamed on each league's YouTube channel and will include archived and other special content.

"With more than 200 million gamers a day watching more than 50 billion hours of gaming content per year, YouTube provides gamers and their passionate fans with the most popular video gaming platform in the world," said Ryan Wyatt, Head of Gaming, YouTube. "Both the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League are the quintessential examples of world class esports content. As a former Call of Duty esports commentator myself, I couldn't be more excited for Activision Blizzard to choose YouTube as its exclusive home for the digital live streaming of both leagues. This partnership further demonstrates our dedication to having a world class live streaming product for gaming."

"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," said Pete Vlastelica, CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports. "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 collaboration with Activision Blizzard represents Google's ongoing commitment to supporting game developer success around the globe. Across its business units, Google offers comprehensive solutions for game developers, empowering them to create great games, connect with players, and scale their businesses.

Blizzard artist gives the Game Boy an Overwatch makeover

This needs to be real

Blizzard artist Rakan Khamash has been spending his free time honing his craft, and also showcasing his love for the original Game Boy. Khamash has worked his magic by coming up with a custom Game Boy design that gives the portable an Overwatch makeover. The concept is absolutely gorgeous, and has me hoping Khamash actually tries to turn this into a real-life project. I bet a real version of this would fetch a pretty penny!

Overwatch "Lunar New Year 2020" event now live, and fully detailed

Let the year of the rat begin!

Get ready to ring in the 2020 Lunar New Year with more seasonal items, exciting weekly challenges and rewards, and the new brawl, Capture the Flag Blitz. We’re commemorating the Year of the Rat with an abundance of new skins, highlight intros, emotes, and sprays for players to unlock. Fly a delightful kite as Bastion, savor some hot soup with Baptiste, or show your Lunar New Year spirit with new legendary skins like Opera Brigitte, Face Changer Sombra, Mask Dancer Moira, and Samul Nori Lúcio.

Join the Festivities

CAPTURE THE FLAG BLITZ

The stakes have been raised in this new way to play Capture the Flag. With both teams’ flags much closer together, six captures are now needed to win the match instead of the traditional three. Launch an all-out offensive against the enemy to snatch their flag as many times as possible—may fortune favor your team!

CAPTURE THE FLAG

In Capture the Flag, each team attempts to secure the enemy flag and return it to their base while preventing the opposing team from doing the same. Determined players can try Competitive Capture the Flag, which includes placement matches, leaderboards, and Competitive Points!

Weekly Challenges

PLAY TO EARN

Win games in Quick Play, Competitive Play, or the Arcade to unlock sprays, player icons, and festive skins like Monk Doomfist, Ancient Bronze Winston, and Paper Cutting Wrecking Ball. Each week brings new rewards to earn!

FORTUNE SMILES UPON YOU

Celebrate with our lucky Lunar Loot Boxes, filled with new skins, emotes, highlights, player icons, sprays, voice lines, and more. Items you missed during last year's event are also available to unlock for a discounted credit price. Your chance to earn these items will end on February 5, so unlock your fortunes before it's too late!

Full details here

Overwatch's "Year of the Rat" event starts today

This one's for you, Splinter!

It's a new Lunar Year, and Overwatch is celebrating it in style with their "Year of the Rat" event. The event kicks off today, and while full details haven't been shared, we know it'll include a host of new skins, some special fireworks, and more. All the juicy details will be shared later today, and then fans will have until Feb. 5th, 2020 to take advantage of all the fun.

Real-life Overwatch loot box made for a wedding proposal

Now that's some loot!

Gavin Carter, the lead producer of Fallout 3, wanted to propose to his girlfriend in a special way. Turns out they're both fans of Overwatch, which is why Carter wanted a real-life loot box to get the job done. YouTube channel Optimistic Geometry was up to the task, and you can see their creation in the clip above.

Overwatch "Winter Wonderland" kicks off Dec. 10th, 2019

New skins, and the return of a mode!

Time for some Winter fun in the world of Overwatch! The official Overwatch Twitter account has confirmed that the Winter Wonderland event will kick off tomorrow, bringing all kinds of new skins, as well as the return of the Yeti Hunter mode. Yeti Hunter is a five-on-one skirmish taking place on the Village section of Nepal. Five players (all playing as Mei in her Yeti Hunter skin) must hunt down the Yeti (Winston in his Yeti skin), at the risk of the Yeti powering up and killing them in turn.

Henry Cavill reveals who he mains in Overwatch

He's ready for your hate

Henry Cavill may be super excited about playing the role of Geralt in Netflix's Witcher series, but it turns out he's a fan of other games as well. Cavill recently revealed that he's into Overwatch, and plays as a rather divisive character.

"So I played Overwatch, and I got back into it just this year, and the character who I had initially picked, who is like a -- no one picks it, cause it's quite hard to play, and it's a Support character, and now everyone hates this character, because of whatever updates they had. Symmetra, everyone hates me."

Overwatch director shows interest in the series going beyond games

Overwatch, the telenovela

An Overwatch sequel is in the works, and obviously, that's going to pack in all sorts of new experiences, characters, and more. With that said, could there be aspirations for the Overwatch franchise beyond the video game scene? EDGE asked Overwatch director Jeff Caplan about any possible off-shoots for the series, to which he said this.

“We’ve always thought of Overwatch as a universe, not a single game. The original game was the first expression of Overwatch, but we dream of what other forms of media could feature Overwatch. Movies? An animated series? What other game types would everyone love to see in the Overwatch universe? We hope that the characters of Overwatch exist far into the future and are expressed in ways that we can’t even imagine today.”

Blizzard currently "experimenting with more radical changes for PvP" in Overwatch

Toying with new ideas

Overwatch 2 is in the works, and its bringing all of Overwatch with it. What can fans of the franchise look forward to? In an interview with EDGE magazine, game director Jeff Kaplan revealed that Blizzard is "experimenting with more radical changes for PvP." When pushed for more details, Kaplan said he didn't want to reveal info, just incase their experiments don't make it to the final game. Whatever is going on, it sounds like some radical departures for PvP are being considered.

Check out an unboxing gallery for Japan's Overwatch: Legendary Edition

What's in the box?

As we've posted about in the past, Japan's release of Overwatch: Legendary Edition comes as a physical release, complete with game card. Check out what the box has to offer in unboxing gallery above!

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