Starcraft 2 tanks in South Korea

I was wondering why there weren’t any reports about ginormous SC2 sales and sports events in South Korea. Now I know.

  • Half of SC1’s 10+ million sales were in South Korea. Most of SC2’s 3 million sales to date were in the West.

  • Only 2-3% of Korean gamers played SC2 in the month after release.

  • Aside from a natural change of interest and rampant fraud among Korean SC competitions, the main reasons appear to be Blizzard’s removal of LAN play and its aggressive attempts to prevent unlicensed SC2 tournaments.

We won’t know for some time if Blizzard’s tough tactics have damaged the StarCraft phenomenon in Korea beyond repair, or if it all merely boils down to transitional road bumps.

Looks like SC2 will be lucky to sell half as many copies as SC1, unless all of China suddenly gets the SC2 mania or something.

Clicked thread expecting to see pictures of life-size SC2 vehicles parading through Seoul, left disappointed.


So basically the real game is the meta game.

Good to see Blizzard’s anti-consumer tactics biting them in the ass.

On the other hand, in the last couple of months the GSL started running, which I believe is the biggest esports tournament in the world in terms of prize pool ($170,000 for each tournament, with about $85,000 for first place). And it’s running monthly. That’s a lot of money.

Also, the game is new, but it seems to be starting to attract a lot of the big names from the old SC1 scene, including Boxer, who I think is the most famous Starcraft 1 player by quite a margin. Although hilariously in the current GSL he got knocked out in the semis by someone who had taken his name as his Battlenet ID before the real Boxer announced he was playing.

So maybe at a more casual level SC2 is tanking in Korea, but in terms of growing the same professional competitive scene that SC1 had its doing really well.

You are not alone :(

Can we rename the thread “Starcraft 2 slowly taking over South Korea”?

This is sort of Deja Vu with Valve and Counter-Strike moving to CS: Source.

Horrible article. All the primary sources are from KeSpa, which is in legal disputes with Blizzard. From a hard data standpoint, the number of played matches is still growing with the period of a week in the Korean server. On the other hand, the US server has definitely plateaued.

Yeah, I’m sure SC2 will eventually take over there. It’ll just take time.

Yeah, I was hoping for this too.

  • Alan

Boxer moving to SC2 is huge for taking over Korea.

If Lebron James, Peyton Manning, and Derek Jeter all started playing soccer, that might start to help soccer’s popularity.

The article specifically says Starcraft 2 didn’t bomb, it’s just performing under expectations.

I have no idea how well SC2 will do long-term in Korea, but since SC1 is still so big I don’t see this protracted migration as avoidable, or even neccessarily bad.

Hell, blizzard could probably afford to payroll all the most popular players to jump ship.

How realistic are expectations when comparing a product’s sales over a few months to, oh, TEN YEARS for the previous product that had an abnormally long shelf life?

— Alan

That is the first thing I thought when I first read the thread. Well said.

It is interesting, though. I was getting the feeling that SC2 was not meeting sales expectations as well. I would have expected a few million sales in S. Korea in the first month.

Agreed, not a well thought out thread title.