I've been meaning to write this for a long time now
Blizzard reads TL so I hope they will read this. As a Starcraft fan (both BW and SC2) I would love to see both games succeed. Obviously blizzard won't change anything even if they read my post but I just had to get this out
There are alot of questions on about whether or not the success of SC2 is large in Korea, or whether or not GSL or any other huge Tournament is huge in Korea.
As a TL member living in Korea I want to tell you all the tragic story of SC2 and how Blizzard is losing such a great opportunity.
SC2 in Korea, how big is it?
I'll say it straight up; Korea does not find SC2 interesting or even appealing. To explain how much they don't care, SC2 is losing to a fake ass Counter Strike copy called 'Sudden Attack'. But why? How can the successor to Starcraft Brood War not be hitting #1 charts in Korea? There are a few MANY reasons why SC2 is failing so hard.
Numero Uno” : Blizzard's bad decision
As some of you know SC2 PR in Korea is huge. If you go to central seoul, almost every electronic billboard has their own “SC2” time. There are posters everywhere and every single bus has a huge SC2 logo painted onto it. Blizzard seems like they just flew a plane straight through seoul and bombarded seoul with SC2 Stickers. Blizzard is just all-inning PR in Korea in hopes of getting it through people. I guarantee you if Blizzard did this to any other country in the world, everyone would buy it. But not Korea... Why?
Blizzard does NOT understand how large of an impact Kespa has over the Korean community. Blizzard's split between Kespa was their first biggest mistake. Look I know how we all hate Kespa for being stupid and all, but seriously guys? Starcraft is ONLY 10 years old. For a sport to have such a pillar like Kespa is an amazing feat. Deny all you want, but Kespa knows how to do their job. Every sport has their sacrifices, don't be a 12 year old ragging idiot to not admit to this. Kespa has run the SC scene for 10 years, and yes there were some hiccups, but overall it went smoothly. For a company who made a sprite based RTS into an Esport, you have to give these guys credit.
So Blizzard pisses Kespa off and now they're partnering with GOMTV... Haha...
Hey remember when Atari made the Jaguar to compete with Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis? GOMTV is the Atari Jaguar of Korea, they suck and I'm sorry if you feel bad about it.
Number Two” : The PR that goes nowhere
As I said in Numero Uno, the PR is huge in Korea. But if it's so large, why isn't it popular? I'll draw a comic for you guys because it's better explained with a picture than words.
Blizzard may have gotten the internet journalists, buildings and even the streets of Korea filled with SC2, but they failed to acquire the most important one of them all; television.
Believe it or not folks, GOMTV is not actually a TV
Number Three” : ”What? I have to buy a goddamn computer?!”
Some of you might not know, Koreans are one of the most computer illiterate people on Earth. One of the other reasons why SC Brood War was able to succeed was because it could literally run on any goddamn computer. Seriously, I ran SC BW on my fucking pentium 2, that's saying something.
Koreans, being asian (hurr hurr) live in a strict and contained environment from their parents (most do, not all). Now imagine you being a 16 year old Korean, you want to play SC2 but your once in a lifetime college exam which will dictate how you will live for the rest of your lives is coming up and you can't asking your mom for money to play 'games' and you can't go out and get a job because you'll fail your tests. All you have is this shitty ass dell clone laptop made in Korea; what can you do?
Okay how about this, you're a College student in Korea, you finally have free time haha wait nevermind you don't have free time either. You're going through rigorous Korean education which seems to go nowhere and in a couple of months you're going to get conscripted to the Army. The money you earn from your 'job' all goes to your College funds and in the end you're living a shittastic life. “Hey Americans get Student Discount? … Wait, what's a student discount?” Shit man Koreans don't even know what that word means. So where can they buy a computer? Oh right their parents can buy him one. Sure some dudes will get money from their parents, but what about the ones who don't?
Starcraft 2 is just not as accessible as it was compared to BW. Let's be honest, who the fuck wants to play games in Low Quality textures? Sure I had to play in Low Quality but that's because my computer sucks and can't even run fucking WoW properly.
I'm not trying to criticize Blizzard for having 'superior' graphics. Blizzard did a great job with graphics, it's just that the majority of Koreans weren't (still aren't) prepared for it.
Number Four” : ”GOMTV > Kespa/OGN/MBC... Seriously Blizzard?”
I'm going to just say this straight up GOMTV sucks. They're bad, they know how to run tourneys just as much as Blizzard knows how to not fuck up.
Some GOMtv Fanboy: BUT MISTERHOON THAT PRIZEPOOL IS $500,000!!!!!!!!!
So more money = better? By that logic GOM Classic would've overthrown OGN and MBCgame long ago.
The only reason why GOM Classic was so good was because Tasteless is a fucking baller who made the whole thing fun. But enough of that, let's talk about why GOMTV sucks.
1) Nobody cares about GOMTV in Korea Gomtv is just as popular as Tom Greens show after he got washed up. I know GOMtv is doing their best to make esports work but nobody can deny that they just suck. But what's so bad about them? What makes them so unappealing to Koreans?
2) The Korean Commentators for GOMTV are terrible. Like, Dane Cook Bad. The Korean Commentators are just brutal to your ears. You guys are fortunate you don't have to listen to that crap but they just made the whole series unbearable.
As most of you know in Korea, Commentators is what saves the game at times. Actually hell man, in every sport commentators is what makes the game so much more bearable. The GOMTV commentators just doesn't cut it. Yes I know some of the Commentators of GOMTV were EX-OGN commentators. But think about it, if they were good, they wouldn't be EX-OGN Commentators would they?
They are bland, they have no character, and the woman commentator has the most nasally voice ever which is a turnoff.
So basically Blizzard partnered with a company who has lots of money but nobody watches...
I know blizzard already is Activision's little bitch but at this point I don't think it would hurt to have another pimp (kespa).
Number Five” : Everyone in Korea are casual gamers.
Most of you new guys come from kotaku, destructoid, gamefaqs, ign, gametrailers, something awful and hell even 4chan. But one of the most common misconceptions foreign gamers have about Korean gamers is that “Koreans are all Hardcore players”
This is false in every way possible. Gaming in Korea is not a hobby, but a culture. People in Korea play games to relieve stress because they already drink and smoke a lot. Many people in Korea play games to enjoy not win. What Blizzard is doing is shoving ESPORTS down Korea (and everywhere else)'s throat not gaming.
The order should not be Esport → Everyone get's all competitive → Even my mom plays SC2!
NO! It should be the other fucking way around
Even my mom plays SC2! → Everyone get's all competitive → ESPORTSSSSSSSSS
When Blizzard said they were aiming for Esports, I knew this game wouldn't do AS well. How can a game be A+++++++ BW quality when they aim for Esports instead of game quality?
When you go to Korea and tell a bunch of casual gamers who played games for fun that 'this is the best new competitive game ever and your blood will boil', who the fuck would buy it?
Number Six” : Lan Cafe
Friend 1: Hey dude you wanna play SC2? I heard it's pretty sweet Friend 2: Oh cool let's check it out man Friend 1: oh you need a battle.net account to play Friend 2: uhh okay np man Friend 1: Also you need to register using your Korean Social Security Number and your phone to activate your account Friend 2: No worries I have both Friend 1: Yeah and since we can't play on Lan we have to go to battlenet Friend 2: Oh okay it's cool man Friend 3: HEY GUYS I LEFT MY SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER AT HOME Friend 1: Aww really? Oh well let's play some Brood War Friend 2: WOOHOO
This is just 6 of the many failures of Blizzard in Korea. They could've done so so much more but instead they decided to be so 'all knowing' about Korea and fucked up big.
But you know what? Why should Blizzard care about Korea? I know this sounds cold but there isn't any reason blizzard should care about about Korea. Sure Korea made SC awesome and godlike but Blizzard doesn't give a damn since they earn money from WoW anyways.
I'll try doing a better writeup later, but for now I hope these answer most of your questions
Ah so that's what is really happening in Korea right now - in other words, just as expected. Good read, good post. (No lie that image is what I felt... for a few minutes then I shifted to the bottom one, minus the tv) (And if I can't take it - I play the beta for a bit then the euphoria/craving dies down)
Last edit: 2010-08-08 15:38:59
MBC/Liquid/TSM for now, and for always.
Qwerty. United States. August 08 2010 15:36. Posts 292
On August 08 2010 15:35 rotinegg wrote: dont most ppl have their social security number memorized though? I have mine, my sister's, both my parents', my grampas and my friend's mom's who used to pay me to tutor her son english
agree with everything else, it seems not many pc bangs are picking it up either
it's more 50% coinflip~
flamewheel HANG KANG. August 08 2010 15:39. Posts 21520
I've read a few economic/anthro papers on the 'starcraft phenomenon' in Korea and they all point toward BW exploding because it was cheap, and ran on basically anything (which meant it was in every single cafe regardless of quality) so that part makes sense.
One thing I don't necessarily agree with though is GOM's money. I don't care if GOM is the bastard stepchild of e-sports, they are willing to pump ~5 times as much money into this tournament as an OSL. History will show you that people go to the money regardless of event. The popular sports in America are the ones where the money is, we don't have good soccer players because it pays jack shit, if you're an athlete you choose the sport that gives bling. The formats that are competitive in magic the gathering are the ones that have big money tournaments, the guys who play more casual formats are much worse players.
Now, thats not necessarily event relevant to your point, because it only targets the competitive gamers who are into the scene anyway. As you said, it needs to be a movement that starts with the casual gamers (I agree). But what it does mean is gamers looking to make a splash are going to choose SC over other games, if you're good at an RTS why would you try to grind into a proteam that pays nothing if GOM has open tournaments that have real checks? Time will tell but I think its much more uncertain than it looks from your perspective.
Awesome writeup, great place to get some discussion!
StarCraft didn't pick up in Korea immediately, either, it got started in North America first (obviously hardly to the extent that we currently see in Korea). The main mistake Blizzard can make is trying to push it too far, too early, so people dismiss it before letting it develop.
I agree with most of your points here, and they are very wellwritten. The only thing I would object is that GOM for us foreigners really isnt all that bad. I remember following proscene for a bit, and I got really psyched when they finally had a tournement with english casters, that was really great, atleast for me personally. Now I hope and believe that GOM will follow in that path, and include English commentary to the matches, something that im not sure that OGN/MSL would do.
You are the freaking man! Very well put. Unfortunately your totally right, why should blizz care if they have WoW. Oh and awesome pics :D
@heyoka Your whole argument seems to based solely on the perception that Koreans will follow the capitalistic notion to go where the money is. Which isn't always true, especially in countries that are not America.
Last edit: 2010-08-08 15:54:29
I like money. You like money too? We should hang out.