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Blizzard: "We view eSports as a community builder"

Exec producer Chris Sigaty explains the studio is still learning from its players

Blizzard's Starcraft has always been a vibrant part of the eSports scene and the company recently found success in that same arena with Hearthstone. At the DICE Summit today the company's Chris Sigaty explained the team took their cues from the community.

"At Blizzard we view eSports as a community builder," the executive producer said during the eSports panel.

"We arrived at that not through statistical analysis or some sort of deep dive into big business or anything like that, it was arrived at with the advent of Starcraft and the growth that the community built up around the game and our appreciation and love for being a part of that."

When it comes to deciding what will make a great eSports game Sigaty said it was the players that had to decide what became the next big tournament or Twitch-streamed title, not the developer or publisher.

"At least at Blizzard we believe the community absolutely determines that and we take a careful approach with our games as we go in, we may have an idea that we think it will be a very fun game to watch competitively and turn into an eSport but we make no assumptions about that.

"The community has educated us in what is the approach"

"We have now three major games that we're dealing with, four really, and they're all dealt with in different ways, subtly different ways, but every time we're kicking the game off we one, have to know we have a competitive game that is fun, we're going to be in it for the long haul with keeping the balance there, continuing to support it and then watch and embrace what the community is doing."

He added that declaring your game as eSports worthy sets up a game for failure.

Blizzard has the advantage of its own incredibly popular event, Blizzcon, but Sigaty admitted that the popularity of its games as an eSport brought its own challenges in terms of making space in schedules at events and making sure each could be supported with the right amount of attention. Ultimately, Blizzard is still learning.

"The community has educated us in what is the approach, what do they want, we go to the community a lot," he said.

"ESL, our partners are building the knowledge, we go outside to get those expertise and certainly we have a lot of ground to gain within the industry. When you look at ESPN, you look at NFL, you look at some of the major sports that are out there we still have room to grow, but there is an expertise that's started along time to go, it continues to level up all the time and we go to that community to help put on the shows, what are the right ways to tell the story."

He also made the excellent point that the eSports ecosystem be supported, the infrastructure that will make sure that the scene "levels up" in the way we saw with professional sports.

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Rachel Weber avatar
Rachel Weber: Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.
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