On February 7, Blizzard Entertainment finally broke their long silence regarding the state of StarCraft II Esports in 2019.
First up is the eighth season of the StarCraft II World Championship Series, where will see 3 more WCS circuits following the end of WCS Winter this year. Working with StarLadder, Blizzard will bring StarCraft II back in Kiev, Ukraine for the first time since 2012 with WCS Spring and Summer. Meanwhile, Blizzard will partner with DreamHack to bring WCS Fall to Canada at the DreamHack Montreal festival last this year. All three events will feature $100,000 prize pools, with the ongoing WCS Winter putting up $120,000 for grabs.
Next is the Global StarCraft League (GSL). For its 9th year, the fan-favourite league will see three seasons of play, with a total prize pool of 170 million KRW (roughly $150,000 USD). In addition to this, Blizzard also intends to host two “Super Tournaments” with a total prize pool of 30 million KRW (roughly $26,000 USD), with “GSL vs. The World” also set to return as the second global event hosted for StarCraft II Esports in 2019.
Last, but certainly not the least, is the WCS Global Finals. The biggest tournament in StarCraft II Esports, the LAN Finals, which will be held at a still-unannounced date and venue, will feature more than $500,000 prize pool, to be boosted by the introduction of a second War Chest.
What Does This All Mean for StarCraft II Esports in 2019?
Good news, most likely.
With Heroes of the Storm esports getting axed earlier this year, there were growing concerns that StarCraft II esports was next. But, as it turns out, that’s not going to be the case. If Blizzard’s plans for 2019 are any indication, they plan on building on the upward trend of StarCraft II esports in recent years, especially in 2018. They’re trying to cultivate the scene from the ground up and giving it the necessary support it needs to grow.
Or at least, that’s the likely message they’re sending out with their recent move.
Whether or not this is enough for StarCraft II esports more palatable to the general audience remains up in the air. However, what we do know is that this move is good for the scene.
With StarCraft II esports now a part of IEM Katowice once again, this time featuring a whopping $250,000 prize pool, and Blizzard’s plans for the game in 2019, the sequel to the game that arguably started it all — StarCraft: Brood War — might finally be getting the second lease of life that it has so desperately needed for many years.
What do you think of the general state of StarCraft II esports in 2019? Do you think we’ll the additional support will help the scene thrive and grow? Or is it already too late? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.