Is StarCraft 2 Dead?
StarCraft 2 is a title that’s sustained an esports scene with sparse new releases for content, surviving as an esports mainstay without the need for new installments of the game. However, that hasn’t stopped people from asking is StarCraft 2 dead. From more competition in esports to the impact of Blizzard moving on, there are a lot of reasons to think Starcraft 2 isn’t at its healthiest.
For many, StarCraft 2 might be a dead game thanks to its lack of support from developers altogether. However, this is a title that has an impressive competitive community, one that doesn’t entirely need new content to keep the game relevant. The best StarCraft 2 players are still finding new ways to innovate within the title. Is this enough though, or is StarCraft 2 dead?
StarCraft 2 might have been out since 2010, but it still maintains regular tournaments and an active player base that keeps queue times low. However, with Blizzard shutting down support for the title, is it fair to call it a dead game? In terms of esports, that would be a hard sell. There are loads of StarCraft 2 tournaments regularly being held. Although, a look at their viewing numbers and how the structure of tournaments has changed can better illustrate the game’s problems:
StarCraft 2 Tournaments – Are They Slowing Down?
If you’re asking ‘is StarCraft 2 dead’ then a great place to start is looking at the tournaments The game still sees a decent number of tournaments. There really hasn’t been much of a drop-off compared to past years. The competitive calendar may have looked a little busier a few years ago, but the title definitely still has a decent roster of events. Dead would definitely be an overstatement.
The game’s prize pools are a bit less impressive than they have been in the past, but it’s hard to argue that StarCraft 2 still doesn’t have enough to offer. The high-level events still bring in prizes that rise above a lot of games. However, there is one metric where StarCraft 2 tournaments have downturned a bit. In terms of their total events across all tiers of competition, things have slowed down since the game’s peak.
This is less a sign that StarCraft 2 is dead is than it might be heading that way eventually. The game’s tournaments are still far above what would be healthy for players, but it doesn’t seem to be expanding anymore. This is natural for a game without active development still, but it does point toward StarCraft being passed its stage of growth as an esport.
Differences Between Regions
One thing to keep in mind about the StarCraft 2 tournaments and esports is the regional differences. For the highest-level tournaments, there is more going on in Asian regions compared to the West. This is a reflection of the popularity of the game in these regions and where the highest-level talent is located.
It’s hard to say that StarCraft 2 is dying due to its number of tournaments. It still holds regular events with great prize pools and it has an active esports community of fans. However, it does have some problems.
Compared to a lot of games, StarCraft 2 doesn’t have the widest spread of events in every region. It’s smaller tournaments definitely don’t attract as much attention as some other games. However, part of this might be down to the format of the game rather than changes in popularity. While there’s still StarCraft 2 news from time to time, not having developer support for the title is going to be a factor in bringing in new fans and players.
Viewing Numbers for StarCraft 2
Viewing numbers for an esport can be a good way to judge how well it’s doing in terms of popularity. Viewing numbers for StarCraft 2 might not ever have been quite on the level as some titles, but the game has pulled in a decent viewership for most big tournaments. The most recent highest-level tournament was IEM Katowice 2022. This year, that tournament pulled in 50,635 viewers at its peak and an average viewership of 27,318.
In 2021, the peak viewers hit 87,479. The average viewing number for a game though was 42,565. This does show a clear drop-off compared to the year before. Although, the impact of Covid restrictions on esports viewership is probably a factor here too.
If we look back further, the 2020 and 2019 IEM events show stronger numbers too. 2020 saw peak viewers of71,794 and an average viewer of 31,489. 2019 had figures of 80,763 at the perk and 40,622 on average. We can see that the viewing figures for StarCraft 2 aren’t exactly a straight trend line down. While the most recent tournament’s figures are disappointing compared to previous ones, the game’s had years with fewer viewers in the past without that becoming an ongoing trend. The viewing figures are still within a decent range of what’s normal for the game. If this drop-off continues for another few years though, that could be a warning sign.
Some years will naturally have more hype going into them than others. However, StarCraft 2’s viewing numbers are still pretty good. Especially for a game that mainly lives on the hype of its community at the moment.
Will StarCraft 2 Regain Popularity?
With the esports scene for StarCraft 2 is difficult to say that the game is dying, but it does have some clear problems. It isn’t being supported by the developer of the game and little work will go into expanding it. This basically puts everything up to the community. It’s likely current fans will be able to keep completive StarCraft relevant for quite a while to come. It does look like the game might not resurge in popularity unless something changes though.
If StarCraft 2’s viewership continues to dwindle, then we could be looking at a problem in a little while. At the moment the game does seem strong enough to hold out for a while longer and plenty of fans are helping to keep it alive. With Blizzard facing some pretty big changes soon, it’s possible that StarCraft 2 might start to receive some love once again. We don’t currently know what plans Microsoft has for Blizzard’s esports titles. Even for those who think StarCraft 2 is dying, that could be a game changer.