KeSPA sunsets ProLeague

Korean esports cornerstone KeSPA announced today that it is suspending the StarCraft 2 ProLeague effective immediately.

KeSPA chairman Jun ByungHun dropped the mic in an eloquent statement. His reason for ending the 14-year-old league may not be surprising but it’s still gut wrenching to read.

[…] the drop in the number of ProLeague teams and players, difficulty securing league sponsors, and match fixing issues have made it challenging to maintain ProLeague. As such, KeSPA has come to announce the discontinuation of ProLeague and its operations of the five out of total seven StarCraft professional teams that participated in ProLeague 2016.

You can read the rest of this post over at lowercase esports.

Another day, another esports scheduling crisis averted.

A short message posted to Twitter this past Tuesday could have turned the middle of next June into an interesting threesome for competitive gaming.

The announcement was regarding Major League Gaming’s Spring 2014 finale, traditionally hosted in Anaheim, CA, informally referred to as MLG Anaheim 2014. In the past, this event is one of the biggest live spectator events in esports and an event that I’ve personally attended in 2012 supporting ESFI’s on-scene coverage of the event. It was awesome.

And then, one of their European counterparts looked at their calendar.

The Dreamhack representative went on to reference this press release published in May 2012, two years in advance and also mentioned that the date was included in last year’s post-event release for Dreamhack Summer 2013.

Slasher, reporting for Gamespot, was the first to publish the story in a relatively proper context. Most notably, he made the mention that the date also conflicted with another favorite video game industry pastime—the 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo.

With hints from Twitter posts following Adam’s informal announcement, one could conclude that there would have been some backchannel discussions taking place between MLG and the Anaheim Convention Center crew, and, presumably, the publisher/partners who would be lending their games to the show to find an alternative date.

Today, only two days after the initial announcement, a revised announcement was made via the MLG executive’s Twitter account:

Not a bad turnaround for an organization that seemed to be losing favor with parts of its audience because of the company’s switching games based on business decisions. Personally, I don’t have a problem with MLG playing favorites when it comes to making money and keeping their business afloat so long as they don’t start fixing tournaments or begin catering to a younger audience for the sake of advertising dollars. It’s a business decision and they want to create some cool entertainment that a wide-sepctrum audience can watch and enjoy, and maybe even pay for.

All of this is more impressive when you consider the following, as SirScoots points out:

I don’t think that MLG simply called up the folks responsible for scheduling the Anaheim Convention Center out and politely asked for the dates they previously arranged to have changed without a legally compelling reason, unless Blizzard or another publisher was at the table with them. I could be wrong about that, but my read on the situation is MLG had to work pretty hard to change the dates for the convention center deal they made for this next summer and the public was clued in by MLG’s SVP out of a need to appeal to their potential audience that they no longer have to decide between one of the best produced events in the business and one that isn’t. It comes down to business.

Though I also would have thought that Twitter isn’t exactly the best way to publicly announce something as big of a deal as MLG Anaheim 2014. I could be wrong about that, too.

A prelude to a few investigations.

The larger idea that prompted the above tweet is the following: is the viewership to players ratio for any given game a factor in esports marketing ventures?

I’d like to take a look at the numbers game, so to speak, behind esports events and broadcasts. What is coveted ‘critical mass’ behind the explosive growth and inevitable decline of a game’s viewership?

I want to try to understand this particular train of thought because I’m not sure there are many marketing perspectives from the video game industry’s side of esports. Perhaps that’s why Valve hid Dota 2 behind the beta invite wall for so long? Maybe that’s why Activision could throw a million dollars at Call of Duty one year and not do the same the next year? What gave Blizzard the idea that its much smaller scene could support the reformation of its World Championship Series events against its competitor’s League Championship Series? Why did Shootmania never ascend to replace Quake?

As with anything esports-related, the scope of the initial questions that has prompted me to look into things as simple as numbers has outgrown its initial goals over time. Of course, this also means taking the time to actually sit down and watch these events, something that I really haven’t done lately. Which series of events for each game should I start with? This is the crazy question I’ll have to answer first, really.

Maybe it’ll get me excited about esports again.

We’ll see.

Want a positive story about SC2? Husky’s improvement is worthy of your attention.

YouTube user utube2151 uploaded this video recently and it was submitted to /r/starcraft yesterday by PJ83. It’s largely gone unnoticed by the community, but the brief moment that the video highlights really does prove how much the man has improved over what we originally thought of him. And let’s be honest–not all of us thought he was the best thing ever when he started out.

Double bonus: he’s nearly 15k views away from hitting a whopping 400 million total views of his content on his YouTube channel. An awesome milestone by any standard.

Keep it up, Mike.

It’s as if Blizzard and MLG are playing chicken instead of negotiating details of a live event.

For over the last month, when the North American StarCraft 2 community would have normally heard about details for an upcoming MLG tournament, MLG has been silent. For reference, the last credible communication that was given before this week was a comment made by a certain League Operations Manager on Reddit stating that details about the event would be surfacing soon, save that those details were not released in that timeframe.

Someone posted a question to /r/starcraft community this past week asking if there had been any new information about SC2 at Anaheim. Nothing.

A popular Boston-based BarCraft organizer shared that their event was in jeopardy as their typical event hub required a month’s notice for large parties like theirs.

Practically zero communication from MLG (or Blizzard, though it’s not entirely their place) on either of these concerns.

And then… Continue reading

Chobopeon starts a debate on CS:GO and maps.

  1. chobopeon
    wouldnt it be swell if cs(go) had map pool as dynamic as bw’s and sc2’s?
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 01:30:07
  2. chobopeon
    @keekerdc maybe not equally dynamic but i think an intuitive level editor and/or more map diversity wouldve gone done the game good.
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 01:40:51
  3. keekerdc
    @chobopeon I’d much rather see two great teams play on a map they both know well than some map they’ve been scrimming for five days
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 01:46:51
  4. chobopeon
    @keekerdc uh, yeah. me too. but there’s a middle ground where we dont play the same maps for 10 years.
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 01:47:40
  5. bcarr
    @chobopeon @keekerdc The classic maps are the only thing that previous CS/CS:S players will be able to be familiar with in CS:GO.
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 01:57:05
  6. chobopeon
    @bcarr @keekerdc what about the weapons, the gameplay and the look of it? anyway sc2 had LT, that doesnt mean it was the only thing.
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 02:00:58
  7. bcarr
    @chobopeon @keekerdc I’d argue that maps are more important to gameplay in CS than SC2, as the latter is competitively about build strategy.
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 02:04:54
  8. bcarr
    @chobopeon @keekerdc Routes and decision making about what ground to hold are important to FPS games just as which units to make are in SC2.
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 02:04:56
  9. chobopeon
    @bcarr @keekerdc so you think it’d be too much to change maps more often than once a decade? thats part of how gameplay evolved in bw
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 02:07:17
  10. chobopeon
    @bcarr @keekerdc it provides variety, strategic/tactical evolution and novelty for players and viewers.
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 02:08:00
  11. chobopeon
    @bcarr @keekerdc i mean i love nuke as much as anyone but i dont think the game reaches full potential w/o some new ground to cover
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 02:09:02
  12. bcarr
    @chobopeon @keekerdc BW needed maps to change because play favored one strategy on a map. CS players are more conservative than neocons.
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 02:12:42
  13. bcarr
    @chobopeon @keekerdc CS players optimize routes on a given map. Any minute change would cause an uproar.
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 02:12:49
  14. chobopeon
    @bcarr @keekerdc im not asking to change an existing map, im asking for completely new ones
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 02:13:35
  15. bcarr
    @chobopeon @keekerdc Which is funny, because Nuke in CS:GO offers LESS ground to cover over previous versions. Wonder what Valve’s thinking.
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 02:14:27
  16. chobopeon
    @bcarr @keekerdc well i meant new ground metaphorically but :D
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 02:15:34

On what makes esports exciting: part one.

  1. bcarr
    The StarCraft audience is turning to look at the action coming from the League of Legends game just getting first blood.
  2. bcarr
    With a joke and some ribbing, the Starcraft audience gets loud for the camera. Two games with different rhythms. #MLG
  3. bcarr
    That leads to the revelation: games where players kill players might be more exciting than games where players’ armies kill players’ armies.