In light of yesterdays' news that BlizzCon 2012 would not be taking place, Blizzard did drop one golden drop of hope: the world famous BlizzCon eSports scene would not suffer as a result. To prove this, Blizzard jointly announced with their sad BlizzCon news that they would be hosting the 2012 Battle.net World Championship Event later this year in Asia. With a large prize pool and the high-quality shindigs Blizzard is known for hosting, this could be an important stepping stone in the eSports industry.
Just yesterday, TeamLiquid sat down with Ilja Rotelli, Global Director of Community & eSports at Blizzard, where they got to discussing some of the big plans Blizzard had with their 2012 Battle.net World Championship. Of particular interest was the fact that Blizzard doesn't want the tournament to revolve around an immense prize pool; instead, they want to focus on delivering a high quality competition that players will want to participate in for prestige and recognition. This doesn't mean, of course, that Blizzard is taking a step back in its cash rewards, but it does indicate a shift of focus toward creating a more serious industry.
Ilja Rotelli also had some choice words for eSports competitors Riot Games and Valve, both of which have placed a large amount of prize money into their tournaments. When asked if Blizzard's eSports philosophy differed from Riot or Valve, he noted that their approach to eSports relies on what he calls "stunts," where he notes that they are "trying to achieve . . . a lot of media attention while asserting yourself in the industry." Meanwhile, Ilja argues that Blizzard is taking a more grassroots approach to building eSports as an industry, and he's hoping to not tarnish that vision by making the entire focus on big cash prizes.
It's a great read and Ilja Rotelli is very honest in the interview, so head over to TeamLiquid and take a read!