essays and pithy thoughts

On esports unity

in glhf

For all their talk about how great and open minded their community is, i haven’t seen any cross community tournaments which are coming out of the Starcraft community. I see CS leagues, like ESL’s IEM and the ESEA league, sponsoring Starcraft events, quake events like ESWC stepping in an providing support. Hell even the close minded monstrosity MLG has stepped out of their comfortable little console world and started sponsoring SC2 events. Can anyone name a league – outside of Korea with eStars – which started in SC2 and moved out to other games?

Gotta disagree with my man Campbell here. I don’t see much of a problem with this. I think this notion of ‘esports unity’ simply isn’t a cohesive one.

There’s only one organization in all of sports concerned with supporting a multitude of different sports underneath the same competitive construct; that’s the Olympics, it’s generally a goddamn farce, and there’s only room for one of those. In the sphere of sports as a professional business endeavor, individual sports stand on their own.

This, I think, is a case where ‘the market’ should be left to decide winners and losers. Counter-strike and it’s hangers-on during the CPL era did not create a symbiotic relationship, even though conventional thought on the subject would suggest that it did. Resources were pulled away from arguably stronger games, towards games with smaller communities, because short-term marketing goals were emphasized and a shotgun approach were espoused over developing a single game to its maximum potential. Since all of esports was essentially tied to each other in one way or another, individual games weren’t allowed to collapse without bringing the entire ecosystem with it.

I think letting Starcraft 2 charge ahead is just fine; continued success will mean that savvy marketing heads for companies supporting esports will look to support other games, as eventually the growth will stabilize or peter out, and the ROI won’t be quite as attractive for all companies. In other words, it’s perfectly appropriate to expect some trickle-down to be at work here. As Starcraft 2 wins, everyone wins, and I’d see it as counterproductive for SC2 to ‘look back’ and lose focus by offering direct help to other scenes.