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Report: Blizzard and KeSPA StarCraft hostilities ending

Blizzard and the Korean e-Sports body's legal battle is drawing to a close as members are set to sign SC2 licensing agreements.


The hostilities and legal battle between Blizzard and the Korean eSports Players Association over StarCraft broadcasting rights are seemingly drawing to a close. Fomos reports that Several members of the body, the self-declared representative of South Korean professional gaming, are soon to settle with the maker of the StarCraft series.

South Korean television networks and KeSPA members Ongamenet and MBC Game broadcast competitive StarCraft games without the licenses or fees demanded by Blizzard. The companies respectively had hosted the OSL and MSL, two astonishingly popular leagues for the original game, for years and felt Blizzard had no right to demand these fees. It also seemed a little cheeky that Blizzard waited until they, with other companies, had helped make StarCraft hugely successful in South Korea. Unsurprisingly, and justly, Blizzard was somewhat displeased by their refusal to play ball and called in the lawyers.

The trio were due in court on May 13 but this has now been postponed, as Fomos reports Ongamenet and MBC will be signing up for StarCraft licenses. This'll allow them to host tournaments, broadcast StarCraft series games, and get up to other things they've been doing for yonks anyway. Licensing fees of an undisclosed amount will be paid annually, and Blizzard's logo featured in their content.

In May 2010, Blizzard granted South Korean licensing rights exclusively to Gretech-GOMtv, meaning Ongamenet and MBC would have to sublicense from GOM. This was a bit of a slap to the face for KeSPA, as many of its members had shunned the online broadcaster and the league it hosted for the original StarCraft.

GOMtv went on to host an excellent StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty competition, the Global StarCraftII League (GSL). However, SC2 has yet to reach anywhere near the same level of popularity the original had in South Korea, due in part to the GSL being the only big league in town.

Hopefully the agreement will see the hosts of the OSL and MSL using a little of their muscle to give competitive StarCraft II a helping hand.

From The Chatty

  • reply
    May 9, 2011 7:10 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, Report: Blizzard and KeSPA StarCraft hostilities ending.

    Blizzard and the Korean e-Sports body's legal battle is drawing to a close as members are set to sign SC2 licensing agreements.

    • reply
      May 9, 2011 7:21 AM

      What a great way to kill your own game

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        May 9, 2011 7:27 AM

        You do realize you're talking about StarCraft right? In Korea?

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        May 9, 2011 7:30 AM


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        May 9, 2011 7:33 AM

        I can only assume you are talking about BW. 10+ years is pretty incredible, and its not like teams will transition to SC2 immediately.

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          May 9, 2011 11:17 AM

          This will help BW, which isn't dying anytime soon

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            May 9, 2011 11:33 AM

            Only in Korea is it not dead. SC2 is getting record numbers across the world now. It's only a matter of time before Korea switches.

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              May 9, 2011 11:55 AM

              The tournaments in the US are getting pretty large now. It's fully overtaken every other game scene.

              The NASL stream gets 20k viewers a night.

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              May 9, 2011 12:02 PM

              Korea is still by far the center of starcraft pro-gaming. more money, more fans, bigger events, etc...

              IPL, NASL, TSL have all been great tourneys and proof that the game is popular in the states, but I have no doubts that Korea still has more viewership with "just" the GSL.

              SC2 needs to find its way into mainstream media in the states. They need bigger sponsors, bigger venues, etc...

              I have no idea how they can try to translate 40k people watching TSL on a stream into getting necessary ratings on TV to sustain it though. I just dont know if the US has the market for it.

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      May 9, 2011 7:30 AM

      Can we then get LAN support fucking already?

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        May 9, 2011 7:35 AM

        I wonder if the delay on LAN support had to do with the dispute with KESPA?

        As in blizzard might have been reluctant to lose fundamental control of SC2 tournaments before resolving issues with a large gaming body like KESPA.

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          May 9, 2011 11:15 AM

          You're probably onto something here. I wouldn't be surprised if you then end up selling special gaming league only versions of SC2 that have LAN support.

          Blizzard is slowly killing itself from the inside out with how they are milking and screwing their fans.

          These gaming leagues helped make SC immortal, not blizzard, blizzard just made a fucking game, and now they are screwing the gaming leagues.

          The mod community helped make War3 a smashing success, and created entire genres. Blizzard just made the damn framework, their mod community did the rest, the innovation.

          And the way blizz is treating their modding community in SC2 is like they are a bunch of useless amateurs, WHILE their copy-catting their own War3 mod community. And then they "feature" their own crappy maps that nobody wants to play, and implement this new horrific "popularity" system, which has basically killed the map innovation.

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            August 14, 2011 4:39 AM

            "These gaming leagues helped make SC immortal, not blizzard, blizzard just made a fucking game, and now they are screwing the gaming leagues.

            The mod community helped make War3 a smashing success, and created entire genres. Blizzard just made the damn framework"

            So these brilliant mod communities can do it on their own with any company, can't they? Since Blizzard is JUST providing a MERE videogame, while the mod/gaming communities are making it IMMORTAL.

            What an incredibly self-righteous buffoon you are.

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          May 12, 2011 1:43 AM

          you're partially correct, they also get free copy protection remember. however i think the word "delayed" is probably being overly hopeful.

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      May 9, 2011 10:44 AM

      when did blizzard become the evil empire? did i miss that?

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        May 9, 2011 11:23 AM

        acquisition by Bobby Kotic :(

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          May 9, 2011 11:25 AM

          that said, even putting aside Activision's evilness, I can't blame Blizzard for wanting people using their IP to generate revenue to be licensed.

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        May 9, 2011 11:25 AM

        This is something wrong with Blizzard? I cannot see how they were in the wrong in any way with this dispute.

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          May 9, 2011 11:38 AM

          How dare they try to retain their IP rights!!!!!!!!

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          May 9, 2011 12:05 PM

          Not to mention that these fees probably don't come close to matching the money lost by what I can't help assuming is a huge market for piracy.

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      May 9, 2011 12:30 PM

      wow, pretty misleading article , making blizzard out to look like the bad guy =\

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        May 9, 2011 12:55 PM

        a lot of people see it that way

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          May 9, 2011 1:00 PM

          which the people should decide, not the journalist.

          some facts.

          • reply
            May 9, 2011 1:43 PM

            even better round up of facts, including a timeline.


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            May 9, 2011 4:32 PM

            His analogy is way off.
            He basically accuses these broadcasters as "repackaging" starcraft and then reselling it.
            The broadcasted games are on legal copies of Starcraft, and if watching Starcraft being played on TV makes viewers want to own the game as well, they will go buy legal copies of starcraft, not Starcraft : KeSPA edition.

            Why don't they go after people like HDStarcraft or HuskyStarcraft or any other livestream/youtube broadcasters? Those guys make money by commentating starcraft games, and hosting tournaments.
            What happens next when Husky gets sued for hosting tournaments when he starts pulling in lots of cash?
            What if he got so big that he had to host his own website instead of using youtube? Would Husky be "repackaging" starcraft and selling it as his own?

            No, these are the people that make Starcraft successful and breath fresh life into the game over the long years, the same way korean broadcasters have. Now blizzard is just getting greedy and wants in on the broadcaster's pie.

            If I had people making my product successful, moving copies of my product on store shelves, I wouldn't charge them a goddamn penny.

            But you know what, let Blizzard kill themselves on their own hubris. Its decisions like these that will lower their own popularity and ultimately allow for stronger competition in their dominated genres.