StarCraft II Dropped from MLG Columbus Championship
If you’re a fan of the North American StarCraft II scene, now might be a good time to worry. Yesterday, Major League Gaming co-founder and CEO Sundance DiGiovanni tweeted that MLG’s November championship event in Columbus will not include a StarCraft II tournament.
As a result of this move by MLG, there are no major SC2 LAN tournaments held in North America.
MLG’s support of StarCraft II has come in question over recent months. The eSports league recently dropped out of producing the Americas region of the StarCraft II World Championship Series though many SC2 fans weren’t happy with how MLG treated the WCS in the first place.
Currently, League of Legends is the most popular eSport in MLG’s stable. A perusal of /r/StarCraft indicates that Call of Duty: Black Ops II was close to equaling SC2 in viewership during June’s MLG Spring championship. Granted, those same folks say that DiGiovanni would rather feature a first-person shooter than StarCraft which wouldn’t exactly be a stretch given that MLG historically featured Halo games in its championships.
As someone fairly new to playing SC2, I’m a little at a loss for what to watch now. Sure, there’s WCS but a lot of SC2 tournaments tend to be on at inconvenient times to watch live or harder to find as a casual fan. MLGs and Dreamhacks tend to be exceptions to that. I guess that I’ll just have to get better at watching streams and finding small events to watch.
What might be worse for the growth of the American SC2 scene is that MLG provided some audience crossover potential. The other tournaments have to take breaks which opened up an opportunity for LoL or CoD fans to switch over to live action. Think of it like watching SportsCenter late at night before Aussie Rules Football comes on or something like that.
So we’ll have to wait to see how the North American scene handles losing its major LAN tournaments. Big events almost always bring in curious onlookers. Maybe Dreamhack will hold a tourney in these parts eventually…
And I found this video by FilterSC about the importance of big LAN tournaments like MLGs to your sub-Master level players. It’s a really good think through how this decisions will affect the players and fans beyond fewer tournaments or less WCS points and prize money.