Last month, Ziff-Davis announced that they were closing several IGN properties (GameSpy and 1UP) and putting the IGN Pro League (IPL) up for sale. After some speculation that Blizzard might step in to take over operation of the league, the publisher has confirmed to PCGamesN that it is not planning to purchase the IPL, nor is it planning to operate any third party eSports leagues of its own.
Last week we contacted Blizzard amid rumours that they may be about to throw the IPL a lifeline. Their full statement follows:
“We typically don’t comment on rumors or speculation, but we want to make an exception here because it’s important to dispel any misconceptions surrounding Blizzard and the IPL. While we were fans of the IPL and disappointed to learn that it was coming to an end, we have no plans to take over operation of the IPL business or operate third-party eSports leagues. Our focus is on making great games and supporting our players. When it comes to eSports events, we generally prefer to work with experienced partners on the operations side while we focus on ensuring quality in terms of how our content is incorporated.
That said, there were many talented and passionate gamers working for IGN/IPL whom we feel would be valuable additions to our team. We’ve already extended job offers to some of the employees who’ve been laid off, and we plan to make offers to others who may become available soon. Obviously they bring a lot of web-development knowledge and eSports expertise, which we can use to help us with our online presence and eSports-related projects. We’re also looking into picking up some of the IPL technology and other 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.”
We’ve reached out to IPL organisers and players for further comment and reaction to the news.