There are currently talks of the Brood Wars Pro League (Proleague) moving to Starcraft 2.
99% of people really do not understand what this means.
Most people actually think the vast majority of Brood Wars professionals have actually moved on to Starcraft 2. This is simply not the case. In reality the Brood Wars Proleague is still alive and strong. The players in this league are making six figure salaries with the highest being somewhere around guaranteed $500,000/year.
The guaranteed salary is how much that player’s team pays them just to be on that team. That does not include the tournament money they win on top of that.
Kind of silly right?
Now I know what you’re thinking, there are a lot of Brood Wars pros in Starcraft 2. Well kinda. The ones you see in Brood Wars are in Starcraft 2 are really not the big name ones. They are usually mid level ones. So when you hear someone say “this guy was huge in Brood Wars” its kind of like how FruitDealer is huge in Starcraft 2. He had his time in the sun but he’s not really the “big thing” right now.
There is kind of an open question on how this will effect the current Starcraft 2 community. Right now there is a pretty strong non-Korean tournament presence. In the North American scene you have tones of tournaments everywhere and a North American Pro League (or two).
These tournaments and leagues are about 50:50 between Korean pros and non-Korean pros. This leads to the occasional upset. Imagine though if you saw a few hundred more professional gamers show up, all of which are just better than anyone currently playing.
I mean the last big “shake up” in Starcraft 2 was when Boxer created his Slayers Team and 100% changed the “meta game” of terran play by showing how zergs, protosses, and terrans could really not play against their style at all. At the time unknown SlayersMMA debuted this style and almost instantly became famous.
Another big part of this is the financial change. It is presumed that a lot of Starcraft 2 teams in Korea will just up and vanish over night. The big problem is a Broodwars team offers a six figure salary to their players. By comparison Starcraft players are making five figure salaries and the REALLY successful ones are making it off of tournament victories. CombatEX most recently threw up a YouTube video quitting based on the fact that he is making a five-figure salary and is just not doing that well with it.
Since that is the case single players will not be able to survive if they’re not winning tournaments. North American sponsors can really only afford to pay a team so much money.
Korean telecommunication companies pay insanely high amounts of money to support Brood War teams. If those sponsors shift you could see a really big game switch.
The honest truth is no one likes watching a loser. That’s why no one really wants to watch Idra or InControl anymore. Nice guys and all, but they don’t win. People rather watch HuK and Stephano. And the irony is HuK is Canadian and Stephano is French. People will watch Whitera games because just like KiwiKaki he plays with non-standard interesting play.
Now if HuK and Stephano just never won anything and always lost… you would not watch them. No one would. If all North Americans just suck sponsors will get pulled and you will see a pretty big shrink in esports in North America.
Now this might just be a bit of over-exageration.
In truth there is a pretty powerful esports scene in North America that in no way relies on the Korean scene. The North American players have developed a different playstyle and a different meta game from Korea that is not inferior but different. I say not inferior because all too often you will see Korean players pick up this North American style and one-up Koreans in tournament play.
But on the other side of it the North American esports scene died largely in part because of how much money was in Korea.
By comparison the Nroth American Brood Wars tournaments were just bush leagues… and no one really likes watching bush leagues. Well some people do, but they’re rare. Bush leagues generally thrive when people do not have access to the good stuff. Since tournaments are all online anyway it is pretty much accessible to everyone.
It appears Blizzard is going to work with the Broodwars Proleague to invent a brand new Starcraft 2 Proleague which will basically consume The Gobal Starcraft League (GSL).
It will be interesting to see where this goes.