How Activision Blizzard—and the gaming industry—found success in a global pandemic
On this week's episode of Ad Age Ad Lib, senior editor Jeanine Poggi speaks with Brandon Snow, senior VP, chief revenue officer, esports, Activision Blizzard. Pandemic lockdowns were a boon for esports, with viewers flocking to gaming as live sports and entertainment were shut down. Activision Blizzard was one of the benefactors of the pandemic, garnering impressive momentum around its leagues, including the inaugural season of the Call of Duty league.
The pandemic led to new ways for brands to be part of the in-game experience, Snow says, as the company looked to create opportunities for marketers that were no longer able to do on-the-ground activations. While Snow expects live, in-person events to come back once they can be done safely, the balance and mix of online and in-person will shift post-pandemic. "That pivot was instrumental in us understanding there’s a way you can bring live esports to life that might not always be driven by local events," he says.
Snow also views the gambling or betting space as potential opportunity for growth moving forward. Activision launched a predictive overlay where viewers could guess what might happen in the coming action and there were odds against that. "It is an engagement tool for us early on, but the opportunities that it brings in the coming years are tremendous," he says.