KeSPA, the Korean eSports Association, and Blizzard have ended negotiations surrounding the use of Blizzard’s intellectual property. The negotiations, which have been going on for nearly three years without resolution, pertained mostly to KeSPA’s StarCraft television broadcast rights. Due to the popularity of competitive StarCraft in Korea, and with the upcoming release of StarCraft 2, Blizzard is seeking to become more involved in the process. It’s would be an understatement to say that KeSPA is not being agreeable.
The Korean eSports organization has been beset by a number of problems lately, including huge betting scandals. StarCraft 2 and Blizzard’s request for more control must appear extremely threatening. It’s even rumored that StarCraft 2’s over 18 age rating might have been influenced by KeSPA. Despite that, Blizzard will seek out a different partner for the future Korean endeavors.
Here’s a translation of various interesting points taken from Korean news source Yonhap News:
“During the recent Blizzard HQ visit, Yonhap News sat down with Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime and COO Paul Sams for an interview. During this interview, it was revealed that Blizzard will no longer be negotiating with KeSPA (Korea E-Sports Association) regarding the intellectual property rights of their games.
Morhaime said “We’ve been negotiating with the association about intellectual property rights for the last three years, and we’ve made no progress at all… …We’re going to stop negotiating with them and look for a new partner.” He also mentioned “Blizzard obviously has the IP rights to the Starcraft series, but those rights aren’t being respected, and we can’t keep having these fruitless negotiations with the release of Starcraft II at hand.”
In a worst case scenario, all Korean Starcraft tournaments that run through KeSPA may be forced to stop.”
An example of KeSPA’s use of Blizzard’s IP can be seen the Starleague commercials we’ve reported on, here.
Do you think Blizzard is in the right to request becoming a larger part of the Korean eSports League, Ranters? Or is this simply and Activision-style business move? I’m hoping there are no drastic repercussions for StarCraft fans in Korea.