Perhaps, in lieu of its very public mishandling of Mixer (formerly known as Beam), Microsoft may be intentionally playing down the recent acquisition of eSports networking platform Smash.
Quietly Wednesday afternoon, Smash updated its website to read:
Smash.gg has been acquired by Microsoft
Since we started in 2015, our goal has been to build active esports scenes around the games people love to play. Today we’re excited to take the next step in that journey by joining Microsoft to help strengthen our existing relationships and explore new opportunities. Smash.gg will continue as a self-service esports platform available to tournament organizers from all game communities. If you have any questions about existing tournaments please reach out to [email protected]
While Smash appears more than thrilled to announce the purchase by putting it front and center on its homepage, Microsoft has yet to publicly reference the purchase. It could just be a matter of timing, or maybe Microsoft is looking to avoid some well-deserved scrutiny from the gaming community until it has a roadmap and plans to show people.
Presumably, Microsoft will announce the acquisition and perhaps a general overview of how it plays into next-generation gaming. Unlike studio purchases to bolster its first-party exclusive listings or low latency streaming technology for god knows what, acquiring an entire eSports networking platform has broader implications for more than just the company’s Xbox division.
Updated: Microsoft has officially announced the acquisition of Smash.gg.
Big news everyone! @smashgg is joining us at Microsoft. Same great tournament organization features. Same amazing team. Even more support and opportunities. Get ready to play!
— MSN Esports (@MSN_Esports) December 2, 2020
Filling in the gaps of the announcement are insiders who spoke with ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, explaining that the crux of the deal is less about hosting eSports tournaments themselves but more about gaining web content for MSN and providing the platform with “first-party-sourced eSports content.”