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Activision Blizzard confirms closure of US distribution hub

Increasingly gamers are opting for digital downloads rather than DVDs. Meanwhile, the company has been heavily talking up its Overwatch e-sports league

World of Warcraft nerds
Is it any more ridiculous than watching badly dressed men hit a small white ball into a hole?

“Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft” computer games publisher Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) has closed its distribution center in the US.

The company closed its distribution center in Fresno, California, last week.

Half of console games bought in digital format

The trend towards the distribution of computer games electronically via platforms such as Steam and GOG has reduced the need for a dedicated US site that dispatches physical copies of games, although a spokesman for Activision said the closure was an effort to consolidate its warehousing operations.

Currently, around half of console games are purchased in digital format.

According to financial news web site Marketwatch, Activision has contracted a third-party to take over distribution duties previously performed by the Fresno site.

Overwatch League season kicks off

Meanwhile, Activision Blizzard is making a big song-and-dance over the Overwatch League, after the season kicked off – if that’s the word – yesterday.

It claims to be the first major global e-sports league and was designed to “celebrate the best of the best in the hit Blizzard Entertainment title Overwatch”.

"Connecting and engaging the world through epic entertainment is our mission,” said Bobby Kotick, the chief executive officer of Activision Blizzard.

“The launch of the Overwatch League will provide our very best professional players the chance to inspire our engaged, connected audiences around the world,” he added, without once using the words “awesome” or “dude”.

Mike Morhaime, chief executive officer and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, showed less restraint.

“The Overwatch League was created to deliver an awesome and unique experience for players, teams, and fans,” he said.

“With 12 first-class teams representing major cities from Asia, Europe, and North America, we’re confident that the inaugural season of the league is going to redefine what people expect from e-sports,” he added.

Shares in Activision Blizzard were up 1.4% at US$67.75 in pre-market trading.

Quick facts: Activision Blizzard, Inc.

Price: 69.43 USD

NASDAQ:ATVI
Market: NASDAQ
Market Cap: $53.49 billion
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