Memo to Blizzard: E-Sports is Dying

Blizzard e-sports memoSometimes the best laid plans of mice, men and gaming companies go awry.  So it comes as a no surprise that today we learned via WoW Insider that the biggest e-sports network in the world called The Championship Gaming Series is closing it’s doors. One of the online games that CGS promoted was WoW Arena Tournaments. It looks like e-sports was a dud and not a financially viable form of entertainment. One of the WoW Insider readers Araydan said it best: “Gamers like playing games for entertainment. Gamers do not enjoy watching other people playing games for entertainment.” Bravo! I could not have said it better myself.

Today’s events come as no real surprise as I have been a big critic of Blizzard’s self-indulgent foray into the risky realm of e-sports. The abomination that is Arena PVP has been a major waste of time and has detracted from PVE and quest-driven gameplay which is what WoW was fundamentally designed for. When you start eroding the fundamentals of your core game, you invite disaster.

On October 8th of this year I predicted that Blizzard will cancel their WoW e-sports PVP Tournaments. From my article:

The Death of E-Sports – Blizzard will cancel their PVP Tournaments marking the end of their self-indulgent foray into e-sports. Blizzard has recently revealed that they are refocusing their PVP development on Battlegrounds. Good riddance!

Given the fact that Starcraft II is in the works and Blizzard products have a fanatical following in South Korea, it remains to be seen if Blizzard will actually abandon their support of e-sports as a focus of their company. However it is almost certain that their WoW e-sports venture has suffered a serious setback and will cause some serious rethinking in Irvine.

We are finally starting to see a chink in the previously impervious Blizzard armor. Suddenly their grandiose plans for world domination are not so certain. Despite their success and hubris, they aren’t perfect and not everything they do turns immediately to gold.

In light of the news of CGS’s sudden demise, they may want to reconsider their involvement in other projects. For example is it wise to make WoW into a major motion picture? What if it flops? Then what? WoW will most surely be in decline by the time that movie is released.

Today’s annoucement is a cold, hard reality check for CEO and wannabe impresario Mike Morhaime who had high hopes for elevating Blizzard into an e-sports phenomenon. Hopefully Blizzard will have the good sense to abandon this costly, divisive and unproductive diversion and focus their efforts back on what they do best — making great games.

-Wolfshead

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