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Esports at Blizzcon 2018

Posted Nov 21, 2018

The annual Blizzcon plays an important role in the entertainment industry. It is a key event in the life of a huge community of fans of Blizzard, where developers announce new games and projects. It is also a major esports event, which simultaneously hosts the most important tournaments of the year in several disciplines at once.

Overwatch started as a full-fledged esports discipline with a unique infrastructure with the Overwatch League. But even before that Blizzard started to host kind of Overwatch international Olympic games — Overwatch World Cup. The winners for the third time in a row appeared to be the Koreans, while Canada and China were their “serious” competitors. The number of Chinese viewers increased significantly due to the growth of discipline, but the disastrous performance of the United States negatively affected the number of non-Chinese viewers.

A truly sensational event occurred in Starcraft 2 at WCS Global Finals 2018. For the first time in the history of Starcraft 2 esports (which had 20 years of history and 34 world championships), the winner of a major international tournament appeared to be not Korean. Serral became the 35th overall and the first non-Korean world champion. Most likely this victory marks the change of an entire era, it will inspire millions of other players to actively improve themselves. After all, the Koreans lost. Unfortunately, such an incredible event did not greatly affect the total number of viewers, although if you do not take into account the Chinese, the growth compared to last year is quite impressive.

Heroes of the Storm esports stagnates for a very long time, which greatly affects the number of viewers. Every year the HGC Grand Finals watches less and fewer spectators and, apparently, Blizzard is not really trying to do something to change the situation.

The popularity of Hearthstone Global Games and all Hearthstone esports in general strongly depends on the success of well-known personalities, only in this case, a large number of people will watch the tournaments. In 2017, a team from Ukraine reached the final with famous players, which attracted a lot of viewers. Things were different in 2018 — in the final, there was a team from China, the players of which are interesting only to the Chinese, and from Brazil. That is why the English-speaking audience was not interesting in this event and the amount of non-Chinese viewers fell dramatically. In the same time, the Chinese fully compensated this with their mass activity.

Many do not even know that World of Warcraft is not only the most popular MMORPG in the world but also a rapidly developing esports discipline. The number of viewers of the Arena World Championship almost doubled for 2 years, which indicates a healthy growth of the discipline and its potential for further growth.


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