Major League Gaming has backed out of an agreement to host Blizzard’s North American StarCraft 2 World Championship Series, amid talk of a lack of support from the developer.
“After coordinating on WCS America Season 1 and careful consideration, we have decided to transition away from operation of WCS America and refocus efforts on producing our own eSports competitions,” the organisation reportedly said.
“It was a pleasure working with Blizzard on the inaugural season, however given the structure of the relationship and the impact on the organization, players and community, we feel that it will better serve the eSports ecosystem to run tournaments independently”
According to a tweet from GameSpot’s competitive gaming editor, the North American arm will be supported by Blizzard’s in-house eSports team – which includes former members of the IGN Pro League – and North American Star League, the largest StarCraft-focused competition scene outside Korea.
MLG’s statement is vague on the reasons for the split, but well-known former professional StarCraft shoutcaster John Bain – TotalBiscuit – took to Reddit to share his perspective.
“What most people aren’t going to grasp is how good it is for MLG. The preconception is that WCS is a bag of money on a plate to any organization that gets it and holy shit is that completely inaccurate. WCS is a massive resource drain on any organization that hosts it,” he said.
“Blizzard do not in fact give you all the money you could ever need to run the event and MLG was put in a ridiculously difficult position to recoup costs because they had to host at an EU-unfriendly time. So you lock out your biggest audience by default and are then expected to recoup via sponsorship and ad revenue? What?
“The amount of money MLG had to spend with no possibility of return to run WCS was outrageous.”
Bain said some members of MLG were reluctant to take the deal, and hadn’t chased the opportunity – rather, Blizzard pushed for MLG to accept the deal. He described the World Championship Series as “the damn albatross around the neck of MLG”, and blamed it for disruptions to the Pro Circuit as well as “havoc” with NASL’s leagues.
“NASL is in a better position to produce the kind of format that WCS demands. They have more experience, two casting teams, the production crew and the facilities to do that daily content,” Bain added.
MLG hosted the finals of the first season of the North American arm of the World Championship Series in early June. Dates for the second season have not been announced.