Orange County Business Journal

Online Gamers’ Big Battles Coming to Anaheim

Chris Casacchia Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Irvine-based Blizzard Entertainment Inc. is bringing two of the biggest online gaming competitions in the world to Orange County.

The Anaheim Convention Center in October will host the 2011 Global Battle.net Invitational and the 2011 Global StarCraft II League October Final. The events are based on Blizzard games and will be part of BlizzCon, an annual two-day gathering that typically draws more than 20,000 gamers to Orange County.

This will mark the first time the two competitions will be held outside of South Korea.

Both of the competitions are expected to be top attractions at BlizzCon during its Oct. 21-22 run. It will feature top-ranked pro players across the world who were invited to participate.

Players will compete in “StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty” and “World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.”

The prize purse between the two events totals nearly $300,000.

Tickets to BlizzCon are sold out, but virtual tickets, which provide live coverage, are available for about $40 at blizzcon.com.

Blizzard stages the event as a way to boost its brand among gamers and as a sort of corporate retreat for the company’s development and creative teams and other employees.

Some 1,200 Blizzard workers from around the world come to Anaheim to work at the convention and mix with fans.

Blizzard Entertainment is the largest software company based in Orange County with yearly sales of about $1.4 billion.

The company ultimately is part of France’s Vivendi SA, which bought Activision in 2008 and combined it with Blizzard in a deal valued at about $10 billion.