StarCraft 2 producer Chris Sigaty sees eSports growing exponentially once its becomes available on media formats such as television, and the aura of “elitism” surrounding the community is abolished.
Speaking with Forbes, Sigaty said he hopes Heart of Swarm will be another step towards eSports finally getting the proper attention it deserves.
“For eSports we’re adding new units that will add new tactics to gameplay,” he said. “We’re also freshening up things for spectators. We’re doing a lot of subtle things that will help viewers understand what’s going on when they watch. We have an all new custom interface so that tournament organizers can change all the info the way they see fit. It’s completely customizable. Each broadcaster can put players in a particular area and tweak things like they want, similar to soccer where each sports network will have slightly different takes on the broadcast.
“Now eSports organizers can do all of this in-game, rather than using overlays.”
There are challenges along the way to making eSports an accepted, mainstream event despite its recent growth, and Sigaty said Heart of the Swarm “is another marker in helping that growth,” along with efforts from others titles such as League of Legends.
“We’ve seen our StarCraft 2 audience grow massively… We have larger audiences in North America and the EU now than in Korea, which is the homeland of the entire eSports phenomenon,” he said. “Assuming we get eSports onto other media formats, specifically TV, and raise its awareness, I can see it growing exponentially. I can see shows being made about eSports like you see with UFC.
“The biggest challenge is to convince people that eSports is real, and that the skill level is real. We need to equal the amount of excitement here to soccer or football or other sports. That’s hard for people coming from football or baseball to understand and respect. There’s a significant opportunity to convert more people.
“Once you take a look at the amazing things happening on screen, it helps. What we need now is for eSports to get to a level where it gets the proper attention it deserves. League of Legends is successful at what they do and we feel good about what we’re doing in the space. We both want to see eSports grow and gain more advertisers and see sustainability for the future.”
While Sigay believes having eSports broadcasted on television “would help” expand its popularity, there’s still work to be done in order to “bring it down to layman’s terms.”
“There’s a lot of elitism in eSports – it’s like I discovered the new band first,” he said. “There’s still a force where some people want eSports to feel like it’s their thing. The best way to break out is continuing to make people want to share eSports and make the game easier to describe when it’s on Barcraft or if it was on TV and you find it by flipping through the channels.
“If we can spend some time getting on TV, it would help.”
Blizzard Entertainment’s Battle.net World Championship takes place this weekend in China, during which the world’s top 32 StarCraft 2 players and top 10 World of Warcraft Arena teams will be vying for the title of world champion.
StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm is set to release on March 12, 2013.