In an interview with readmore, Head of Pro Gaming in Germany and Turtle Entertainment, Michael Bister had touched on the future of StarCraft II in the ESL Championships lineup. The site is in German, but a translation was provided by Reddit user nonneb.
Bister had reason to believe that unfortunately, StarCraft II was no longer a viable game to show off due to “support from the players and publishers [is] not there any more, so we have to say goodbye to Starcraft”. Due to that, StarCraft II was not part of the lineup of games during ESL’s Gamescom event.
Instead, StarCraft II would be having one last ‘hurrah’ at the “TakeTV studios next week” where “the best eight players are being invited to Krefeld and playing from group phase to finals offline on site”. According to Bister, the decision to end StarCraft II’s broadcast at the TakeTV studios was due to that place being the same location where StarCraft II took off and became big in Germany.
Regrettably, Bister had hoped the latest expansion Legacy of the Void would alleviate the lack of players and viewers and inject life into the community once again. The team even considered working with the Archon mode, which could have given the game a new fresh breath of air for both players and viewers.
In the end, the decision was made to finally close the book on StarCraft II’s ESL Championship tournaments. Bister alluded to the chance of other games taking its place in the future, including Blizzard’s Overwatch, which has seen a great surge of popularity in the competitive scene.
Despite this, one of the German pro StarCraft II players chimed in on the what was said in the interview and expressed his thoughts on the statement:
“As someone who played EPS for a long time I find it kinda lame that this is his/ESL’s reasoning for abandoning sc2 when it comes to EPS.
Declining viewership is one thing, allthough im not sure why they have fifa then tbh, which usually has even less viewers and about the same prize pool afaik, but declining player interest is pretty much their own fault.
Dont want to go at them too hard since im grateful EPS existed in the first place but they could have done a lot better. Especially in the last 2 years or so it was pretty clear that they didnt care about it anymore(or at least thats how it felt as a player).
Player feedback would get ignored almost entirely, scheduling was often bad, there was little to no advertising and the requirements to play in the cups were just weird for todays standards.
Recently they decided to move all the prize money from the cups to the playoffs. The idea was probably to distribute the prize money more equally but obviously what ended up happening is that most good players only played 1-2 cups to get enough points for the playoffs and then thats it. As a result some cups only had like 5-6 players in it for example. I mean ofc players are not going to play in those cups if there is nothing on the line and you can make the playoffs super easily.
So yea, I dont know… blaming it partially on the players is just really really odd to me.”
Regardless, even if ESL will no longer be running StarCraft II, it is by no means the end of competitive StarCraft II. Blizzard still intends to push out more balances and content for the game, in the hopes that support will keep going for the game by both players and fans.