Microsoft's latest big videogame acquisition is not a studio, but an esports platform: Smash.gg, which provides organizational services and support for amateur and professional gaming tournaments, is now a part of the Microsoft Content Services group.
"Since we started in 2015, our goal has been to build active esports scenes around the games people love to play," Smash.gg said on its website. "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."
Smash.gg expanded on that a bit on Twitter. "With this acquisition, the Smash.gg community and tournament organizers will continue to benefit from the Smash.gg platform, while our team will now benefit from additional resources and support as part of the Microsoft Content Services team," it wrote. "For now, it's business as usual as our combined team continues to support our community and tournament organizers. We're excited about this acquisition's potential to further empower the esports community and expand Smash.gg's reach and scale."
Microsoft confirmed the acquisition announcement through its MSN Esports Twitter account.
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!December 2, 2020
As acquisitions go, this isn't as glamorous as the big Bethesda buyout, but it's a very interesting strategic maneuver. Smash.gg was originally created to support the Super Smash Bros. community, but has grown from there to become one of the most commonly-used platforms in competitive gaming. The Smash.gg website says that it now supports more than 6000 "active event organizers across a broad mix of games," ranging in scale from the Brawlhalla Community Tournament Initiative to the Bud Light Beer League and EVO. It also offers information and tutorials on tournament organizing, e-commerce, and fundraising. That makes it more of a backbone than a marquee, but it's a significant behind-the-scenes presence in competitive gaming, and now Microsoft is too.