When the history of eSports is written, companies like StarCraft will be regarded as the leaders, the innovators and the companies that all other companies came after. eSports – StarCraft was released in 1998 in South Korea where it enjoyed a large, almost cult-like following that included complex leagues with ever-burgeoning prize pools which were created to increase the game’s profile and popularity. Wanting to capitalise on that momentum and usher in a new era of competitive real-time strategy, StarCraft II was launched in 2010 to universal critical acclaim.
The Early Years
With its debut, sales were excellent, and thanks to a better supported professional scene, there was more prize money awarded in SC2 tournaments. For years, it would lead the industry in prize money and, although it was eventually surpassed by larger events like The International and the League of Legends World Championship, StarCraft II was considered the best-paying eSport of all time.
Due to StarCraft II’s popularity, it helped to elevate the profile of a video streaming platform called Twitch.tv. Twitch officially launched in June of 2011, and it depended heavily on StarCraft II to gain an audience. By 2014, thanks in part to the popularity of StarCraft II, Twitch would represent the fourth-largest source of peak internet traffic in the United States.
StarCraft’s viewership numbers on major events weren’t enormous, but average and peak viewer counts continued to climb steadily. Total prize money awarded crested the $4 million-dollar mark in 2012. That year was also the year we saw many other games and genres, most notably MOBAs, rise in popularity and SC2 began to see a slight decline in stream viewership.
Struggle and Decline
The Korean StarCraft scene struggled through years as many factors made it difficult to understand and the industry became unsure of tournament validity and the fact that nearly 70% of all the prize money ever awarded in StarCraft II up to present day has been taken home by Korean pro players. Outside of Korea, the game struggled at the pro level, and its audience and player base began looking to other games and software companies.
StarCraft II’s slow decline was made high profile throughout the gaming industry and both the game and the entire genre, although the foundation upon which every contemporary eSports experience we have, was at a loss. Still, StarCraft II has retained a spot among the top five eSports by prize money every year, and its popularity as a day-to-day title to stream shows the games strength and resilience.
It didn’t help the game that professional StarCraft became plagued by controversy including a series of matchfixing indictments in 2010, 2015 and 2016. The negative light of these scandalsoften has players question the legitimacy of the competitions and that kind of publicity can damage the game and the industry.
StarCraft II Still Has of Potential
StarCraft’s future still has plenty of potential. The eSports industry is primed for growth and if investors see the importance of SCII to the industry, it could still experience sustained success for many years to come.Can also try some other offers.
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