‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
Back when the WCS circuit was reworked at the launch of LotV, I said something along the lines that the essential division between international tournaments and GSL would likely result in even less money for the mid-to-low tier Koreans who could place well in international LANs. This in turn meant that there would be even more retirements going forward and that there was no system in place to either incentivize or nurture new Korean talent coming up.
Here we are, nearly three years later. KeSPA has moved on, retirements have happened, and Code A has been eliminated. I’ve considered this problem for a long time, but in the end I could not think of any satisfactory solution to the Korean problem. After all, in the end people play what they want to play. Starcraft 2 was never a popular game in Korea, so in it’s own way it’s amazing that it has survived this long in it.
As that question is unsolvable, the next question should be how to sustain SC2 at its current level? Blizzard could continue to pump their money into the ecosystem, but that’s not something anyone can ever guarantee. Rather than that, it’s always better to find alternative solutions. I’ve considered this problem for a long time and each time I’ve come back to the exact same scenario that MLG did back in 2012. There is a game you want to build a future for, but in order to create it, it has to be built on the ability to monetize the fans to pay for events. However you are in an era where people no longer pay for content or are even willing to deal with inconvenient streaming platforms that subsidize that product (Shoutout to ESL).
MLG’s answer was pay-per-view and I think that would be the correct choice if it was a hardcore audience. However, I’m not certain that type of hardcore audience exists for esports at all because of the twitch medium. In the end, I think Valve had it right the first time when they allowed compendiums and tickets for tournament organizers, but this doesn’t seem possible as if Blizzard wanted to implement that kind of system, I think they’d have already done it.