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Saturday’s world championships went off without any issues, both in person and online where they were live streamed. While e-sports have been broadcast on U.S. television in the past, it never caught on. Organizers have forgone the old-school medium in favor of streaming matches online, where they can sell their own advertising and charge subscription fees.

“We lose a lot of money on e-sports,” said Merrill. “It’s not something, currently, that we do to drive return or profitability or whatnot. It’s bringing value to our players. Maybe, down the road, that will change. This is something that we believe, as a company, philosophically, if we bring value to our players, they’ll reward us with engagement.”

Other gamemakers seem to be taking notice. “Call of Duty” publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. recently announced new features, such a picture-in-picture mode, for the upcoming “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” that would make it friendlier to e-sports, and Microsoft Corp. is making “Halo 4” available at a Major League Gaming competition prior to its Nov. 6 launch.


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