To the Korean StarCraft Community,
I’d like to take a few moments to comment on recent events related to Blizzard’s involvement in eSports in Korea, and to hopefully shed some light on our motivations and our vision for the future of eSports.
But first, it’s important for me to clarify our relationship with KeSPA and why we ultimately decided to end our attempts to engage them in discussions about possible partnership.
In 2007, we were surprised and disappointed to learn that KeSPA had infringed on our intellectual property rights by illegally selling StarCraft tournament broadcasting licenses without our consent. When that happened, we were forced to step in and take a more active role. We approached KeSPA's management in good faith, with the goal of finding ways to cooperate and continue to grow the eSports scene while still ensuring that our rights were protected.
In the three years that followed, we have repeatedly tried to engage KeSPA in constructive negotiations to address the situation and come to a mutual understanding. On multiple occasions, KeSPA made it clear to us that they did not respect our intellectual-property rights, and even to this day have never responded with a counter-proposal. In addition, KeSPA management has employed threats of blacklisting to block professional teams, players, and managers from speaking to Blizzard Entertainment and participating in our tournaments. Despite the negative rumors you might have heard, Blizzard’s intention has never been to “take over” eSports or to demand excessive sums of money. Our motivation from the beginning was, as it is now, to protect our intellectual property rights while fostering an environment where eSports can thrive.
As the launch of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty was approaching, we felt that our ability to move ahead with a partner who we could trust to respect our intellectual property had become urgent, and we decided the time had come to take a new route. This resulted in our recently announced partnership with GomTV, which gives them the exclusive rights to host and broadcast eSports competitions around Blizzard games. We’ve worked extensively with GomTV in the past, and in that time we’ve discovered that we share similar values and goals for eSports. We have faith that they will be a great partner in helping to advance eSports not just in Korea, but around the world.
Korea has become one of the global leaders in eSports, and we are proud of the role that StarCraft has played in that process. We look forward to supporting GomTV's effort to reach out to pro players and other broadcasters in the eSports world. We will be adding features and functionality to our games to provide more competitive elements to enrich the sport and enhance the enjoyment for those who watch it, and we’re committed to supporting the growth of eSports. As always, we very much appreciate your understanding and support, and are always listening to your ideas and feedback.
CEO and cofounder, Blizzard Entertainment