StarCraft II turned 13 today and is officially a teenager! The RTS classic released 13 years ago today, on July 27, 2010.
StarCraft II is celebrating the anniversary of its release as one of the most famous and influential real-time strategy games of all time turns 13. The sequel to Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft was released 13 years ago today, on June 27, 2010, as StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty hit shelves and blew minds.
StarCraft II turns 13
An all-time classic, a pinnacle of the genre, and often considered one of the greatest video games of all time, StarCraft II is also one of the most influential esports titles ever. Hot on the massive success of its predecessor, StarCraft: Brood War, StarCraft II saw Blizzard take a more active role in managing its esports offerings. Where Brood War was an organic development of a competitive scene, SC2 was a beast carefully crafted and guarded by Blizzard, for better or worse.
This was perhaps best demonstrated with the exclusive deals signed with GOMTV in South Korea in 2010, and the initial decision of Blizzard to end negotiations with the Korea e-Sports Association (KeSPA), the official regulatory body of esports in the country. In this, StarCraft II became the blueprint for developer-led esports, inspiring the likes of Riot Games’ hold over the League of Legends professional scene and Blizzard’s own Overwatch League.
However, after just a few short years of success, SC2 esports began to decline in 2013, in part because of a lack of interest from non-Korean organizations. Western teams and players were just not competitive enough at the game to justify investment. Later, in 2016, a series of match-fixing scandals rocked the scene, causing a further lapse in popularity.
Resurgence and the game today
But SC2 wouldn’t stay dead for long. In 2017, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty went free-to-play, allowing players to experience the entirety of the first single-player campaign and, more importantly, the multiplayer, for free. Interest in the game surged, and intense Western competition dethroned South Korean dominance for the first time in years. Joona “Serral” Sotala’s victory at GSL vs. The World 2018, Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn’s victory at IEM PyeongChang 2018, and Riccardo “Reynor” Romiti’s victory at IEM Katowice 2021 helped return StarCraft to its status as an international game.
Today StarCraft II is enjoyed by a dedicated fan base. The 2023 Global StarCraft II League Season 2: Code S Finals concluded today, with Korean Terran Cho “Maru” Seong-ju taking home his eighth title. It’s fitting, as Maru, who was just 13 years old when he won his first televised StarCraft II game, became a champion again on the game’s 13th birthday. A generation of fans and competitors have grown up with this incredible title.
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