StarCraft: Remastered won’t kill StarCraft II, unless…

Kwanghee Woo Columnist

By Kwanghee Woo, Kwanghee Woo is a Roar Expert

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    StarCraft Remastered's huge pre-release event in Korea. (Image: Blizzard Entertainment)

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    Despite fears (and some hopes) to the contrary, StarCraft: Remastered is unlikely to kill StarCraft II esports. In fact, it probably won’t affect it in any way whatsoever.

    StarCraft: Remastered (SC:R) has arrived onto a scene where everyone has already chosen sides between StarCraft: Brood War (BW) and StarCraft II (SC2), and there’s little it can do to move anyone off their entrenched positions.

    Consider the viewers. Most of the competition for StarCraft fan eyeballs has already happened, as high-level Brood War esports has been available to watch for almost the entirety of StarCraft II’s seven-year existence.

    In fact, the first few years of StarCraft II’s release (2010-2012) coincided with the competitive apex of Brood War, where the most skilled progamers of all time were playing in their prime.

    While the Korea e-Sports Association’s (KeSPA) transition to StarCraft II in 2013 did hurt competitive Brood War, a ‘revival’ scene emerged from the ashes. That revival circuit is thriving now, with legendary players streaming regularly, and even playing tournaments in front of huge crowds.

    If that wasn’t enough to push SC2 fans toward BW already, then SC:R’s veneer of fresh paint won’t be the tipping point.

    The other way SC:R could affect StarCraft II esports is from the player side. We’ve seen several SC2 players switch back to BW over the years, including popular, championship-calibre players such as Rain, Flash, and Jaedong.

    The thing is, the current Brood War scene in Korea is still largely a streaming scene, while esports – though growing – is an occasional treat. Tournaments provide a competitive outlet for former pros, but the prize money in the scene is still meagre. Brood War struggles to scrap together $100,000 of total prize money in a year, while StarCraft II has over $2 million in prize winnings subsidized directly by Blizzard.

    Unless one is confident that they can become a successful streamer, making a living off Brood War is a murky proposition. So, once again, we find that all the ‘damage’ to StarCraft II has already been done.

    The players with an aptitude for streaming – whether through past fame or charisma – have had plenty of time to jump ship. The 2016 dissolution of KeSPA SC2 teams and SC2 Proleague was the final, major turning point.

    The players who have remained with StarCraft II afterwards are the ones who truly enjoy the competition, or find it to be their most lucrative career option.

    That points us to the only realistic way SC:R might start taking bites out of SC2’s pie: KeSPA re-entry into Brood War. IF KeSPA were to restart Brood War Proleague and re-establish its professional teams, it would present a viable, alternative path that might convince current SC2 progamers to jump ship.

    Even with so much of Blizzard’s money up for grabs on StarCraft II’s competitive circuit, the stability of a regular paycheck would be hard to resist.

    Still, it’s all an enormous ‘if.’ KeSPA would have to discover a newly positive outlook on Brood War after deciding to move on from it four years ago. Blizzard would have to stomach the shame of symbolically admitting StarCraft II’s failure in Korea by approving SC:R Proleague. The current group of StarCraft II pros would have decide it’s worth re-learning BW to compete against their extremely accomplished peers who have a significant head start.

    These and other factors make the StarCraft II doomsday improbable – but not impossible.

    Of course, many other events also fall under the category of ‘technically not impossible’” StarCraft II could experience a massive surge in popularity and become the number one esport in the world. WarCraft IV could come out in 2019 and eclipse both BW and SC2. Brood War and StarCraft II fans could realize that their mutual animosity is pointless and choose to coexist in peace…

    Scratch that last one – some things truly can’t be done.

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    The Crowd Says (4)

    • August 11th 2017 @ 9:28am
      aeyaw said | August 11th 2017 @ 9:28am | ! Report

      I dunno man, that break neck Brood War game play. A lot of people who decided they we’re over games in general will be checking out the scene again if SC: R makes any sort of impact. If you were ever into SC1, seeing it again years later competitively brings back lots of emotions

    • August 11th 2017 @ 11:18pm
      Cal Neuvost said | August 11th 2017 @ 11:18pm | ! Report

      This assumes that Blizz will continue to put up big prize money for SC2 and not do so for Brood War. Considering that Remastered is their newest product, I don’t know why you would assume that at all …

    • August 12th 2017 @ 1:05am
      jume said | August 12th 2017 @ 1:05am | ! Report

      I am not sure if you are right. I did not switch to broodwar and to starbow as well because of it’s missing ladder system. And right know I am planning to switch over to SC:R. May be not fully, we will see.

    • August 12th 2017 @ 5:17am
      canman said | August 12th 2017 @ 5:17am | ! Report

      SC2 is already dying, anyway, with no proleague

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