MLG Winter Arena Controversary

#1 Posted by StepwiseDuchess (79 posts) -

Hey I was just wondering if Gaintbomb was going to discuss this at all?

To fill everyone in, essentially the entire SC2 community is upset about MLG utilizing a PPV structure for their Winter Arena tournament charging 20 bucks to watch. No free to watch options were given. Although all VODs will be available March 5th for free.

I was hoping GB would cover this as it's something pretty big, attempting to monetize esports with a more successful business model, and was wondering what GB thought about this. Do they think esports can become a flourishing business, specifically StarCraft outside of Korea.

Also, I'd like to see what GB people think about this.

#2 Edited by Moztacular (465 posts) -

I think our starcraft 2 community isn't large enough to really get too much discussion going sadly; I think a lot of people are holding out for heart of the swarm to kind of "come back" to starcraft. I feel comfortable saying this because I'm online every couple of nights or so and the giantbomb channel is quite empty and the SC2 boards have long been off the top forums. 
 
Regarding the actual topic I dont know what to think about it! On the one hand they might be requiring some form of payment because they need the money bad or feel like they haven't been making enough money, or they have some research claiming that if they were to do this there would be a large enough fan base to pay for the pass. On the other hand, I think that it is very risky because I'm not sure that even nearly 2 years after SC2 release, MLG is in a spot to put up a monetary block on content. If they've done their research and know this will be successful, than it's just business being business. If they're sort of  "blindly" deciding to require payment without having a feel for the fan base, they could be in for trouble. We'll see. (for the record, hell no im not paying $20 to watch an MLG tournament when I can watch free livestreams on team liquid of top players all day any day)

#3 Edited by WilltheMagicAsian (1543 posts) -

After the CGS and CPL, it's clear that the majority of leagues are more about money and not the players.

#4 Posted by EthanML (444 posts) -

There's no *controversy*. It was an event (an amazing event that was worth every penny, but that's besides the point here) that existed outside of the regular season, which continues to be free as it always has. This event would not exist at all were it not for it being PPV. There would be just be nothing at all, until the regular season starts. It was a fantastic weekend's worth of entertainment for those who chose to pay, and those who didn't are getting exactly what they would've anyway.

Add on the fact that the VODs are going out for free a week later and I don't see how anyone can possibly complain.

#5 Posted by StepwiseDuchess (79 posts) -

I think it was a blind decision. Sundance said repeatedly that it was an "experiment" as well as stating how whenever polls were conducted with the StarCraft 2 community, the responses were very strongly negative, and perhaps not accurate enough. Maybe too many raging trolls in the community to actually conduct surveys seriously.

I personally wouldn't mind paying to perhaps watch with a large group of friends via some television, like UFC. The issue though is that it's not something everyone can watch with a group of friends, or even at the bar.

Esports is way too unique to take on a traditional model of monetization of events. Especially with the majority of its community being able to figure ways around paying.

I believe GOM TV probably has it best. Subscription for all tournament coverage. This way, they'd have a budget, perhaps cheaper prices than it'd be for buying PPVs for all tournaments, as well as being able to show your additional content as an appreciation.

The transitions going to be a rocky ride.

#6 Edited by StepwiseDuchess (79 posts) -

@WilltheMagicAsian: I don't think that their mind is only on the money, but rather they're not actually making money and in the end they're a business

#7 Posted by BisonHero (5662 posts) -

At best, Brad might mention it on the next podcast. He's the only one who ever followed anything related to Starcraft, and I'm not even sure how much he still follows it at this point.

#8 Posted by StepwiseDuchess (79 posts) -

@BisonHero: A shame.

I think GB should attempt to promote esports <3 lol. It needs all the support it can get.

#9 Posted by EthanML (444 posts) -

They're in a position to spend over $100k flying in and paying for all the players and have the CEO call the event an overwhelming success at the end. Monetization is not an issue guys. The scene is only growing bigger and better.

#10 Posted by Grimluck343 (1132 posts) -

@StepwiseDuchess said:

essentially the entire SC2 community is upset

That's quite the generalization you've made there.

#11 Posted by StepwiseDuchess (79 posts) -

@Grimluck343: True, I should rephrase it as the SC2 Reddit community as well as lots of people on the TL forums.

#12 Edited by csl316 (7353 posts) -

I wouldn't say "essentially the entire community." I didn't get upset, although it's probably too steep for most people (I didn't pay because I wasn't around for most of it, but I enjoyed the two hours I got to watch for free). I think what you're buying is worth it, and the fact that it's available for free eventually is nice. It's kind of the opposite of GSL, which lets you stream live but locks out VOD's.

Good production, great games, and hours of stuff. $20 a few times a year isn't the worst thing ever, especially since MLG's been doing damn fine work for almost a year now. Once they got those kinks fixed, anyway.

And in an interview after the event, Sundance said it was successful. So despite whatever overwhelmingly negative evidence there may be, we'll get more events like this. Which is cool.

#13 Posted by llamaegg (208 posts) -

Didn't hear about it, but it's sad to hear. Theirs nothing wrong with asking for donations for 1080 steams, but I honestly don't believe it's OK to force people to pay, we want to get more people watching and into the game, not push people away. Hell, if this was a common occurrence I would be willing to say the game wouldn't be as popular as it is today, I mean, I know dudes that watch more then they play, and those who got into the game after watching high skilled players showing what they can do!

#14 Edited by NickL (2246 posts) -

I paid for it and was very hesitant to do so. They were the best games I had ever seen, the brackets were so stacked that every single game seemed like a fight to the death.

It was amazing. The only thing it missed was crowd reaction.

After sundance and adam went onto live on three and state of the game, all of the controversy was pretty much gone, at least on TL. (I don't frequent reddit.)

I'd say the only controversy (at this point) was the glitch that let people watch for free, but that is twitch.tv fault, not MLG

#15 Posted by IndieFinch (242 posts) -

I paid for it, 20$ really isn't anything to bother me. A 2 hour movie costs at least 14$, up to 20$ if it is 3D or IMAX. For the amount of content you got for the 20$ was amazing. Lots of great matches, great analysis, solid player interviews, and a decent VOD system. I watched most of the main stream matches throughout the weekend but am now starting to go through all the VODs.

Overall I think that this is the model we need to move to for eSports. Maybe 20$ isn't the sweet spot, but anywhere from 5-15$ could help make this a sustainable business. They won't have to heavily rely on sponsors and could possibly do more things with events that would previously be impossible. But if we want to move to the "next step" PPV is that next big one that we can make which gives these companies that surge in money to push their product to be the best it can be.

#16 Posted by Spectreman (228 posts) -

I not watch SC2 the entire weekend and $20 is high for who wants only watch a couple of games. Would be more fair have a 5, 10, and 20 dollar models.

#17 Posted by csl316 (7353 posts) -

UFC pay per views are like $50 for a couple hours, and I used to gather a bunch of people to pay for WWF ppv's back in the day. I guess in comparison to that and movies, and the fact that we're game hobbyists that routinely spend $60 on a game, I think the value is there.

But I do think it's got to be cut to more in the $10 range, especially if an expanding viewership of the regular MLG's is supposed to follow these events.

#18 Edited by StepwiseDuchess (79 posts) -

As time is passing, I find myself feeling more and more okay with this.

I think it was just kind of a shock and required some adjusting, but I think for the scene to grow something like this needs to happen.

#19 Posted by Slag (3339 posts) -

I think is a very bad idea.

While I personally have no problem paying for it if I want it, the community needs to grow the fanbase and the best way to do that is free coverage. Sc2 as large as it is , is not large enough in America for it to be self sustaining and this will reduce the community in the long run.

Even established sporting events like the Olympics have realized the audience declines in the long run if you put everything up behind pay walls.

#20 Posted by StepwiseDuchess (79 posts) -

All their main tournament events are still free to my understanding.

I believe these are events that wouldn't actually ever happen unless they were PPV.

This leaves room for people who aren't into SC2 still watch the major events while having smaller PPV events for the community.

#21 Posted by Slag (3339 posts) -

@StepwiseDuchess: well that does sound a lot better. Something a NFL Sunday Ticket PPV split is probably ok.

what I was more concerned about is something like what college sports is doing and moving most regular season men's basketball games to their own networks.

#22 Posted by GunslingerPanda (4480 posts) -

@StepwiseDuchess said:

Hey I was just wondering if Gaintbomb was going to discuss this at all?

To fill everyone in, essentially the entire SC2 community is upset about MLG utilizing a PPV structure for their Winter Arena tournament charging 20 bucks to watch. No free to watch options were given. Although all VODs will be available March 5th for free.

I was hoping GB would cover this as it's something pretty big, attempting to monetize esports with a more successful business model, and was wondering what GB thought about this. Do they think esports can become a flourishing business, specifically StarCraft outside of Korea.

Also, I'd like to see what GB people think about this.

That can't be right, I watched bits of it and I didn't pay a thing. I even watched the post-final interview? Was it just the HQ version that was PPV?

On topic, I think it's perfectly fine to charge for a product you're putting out. Any "controversy" is fucking retarded. Probably the reddit scum as usual. I pay for GSL every season, too.

#23 Posted by BenderUnit22 (1362 posts) -

I thought the GSL charged for all live streaming and most VODs anyway?

#24 Posted by StepwiseDuchess (79 posts) -

@GunslingerPanda: I think they may have added like an hour or day or something that you could watch free

#25 Posted by Fallen189 (4918 posts) -

@BenderUnit22 said:

I thought the GSL charged for all live streaming and most VODs anyway?

I think the issue is the amount of content, hours wise. Plus watching VODS on the MLG website is a fucking nightmare

#26 Posted by baldgye (756 posts) -

I'm pretty sure SotG covered it all with better insite than anyone here could possibly contribute

#27 Posted by StepwiseDuchess (79 posts) -

@baldgye: Yeah, a show made by an MLG employee did a great job

It's not whether we can cover this with better insight, but get the opinion of others. JP, iNcontrol, etc.'s opinions are great, but I want more of the community's opinion as a whole.

Half the crap on TL and reddit is crowded by raging noobs.

#28 Posted by ConfusedCrib (20 posts) -

Oh, I'm late to the party here but I wrote this on the issue prior to the tournament: http://www.teamliquid.net/blogs/viewblog.php?id=313519

I think it ended up being about fine, just overpriced. The short tournament weekend lead to a decrease in game time over the weekend (i.e. more cheese) because players were jet lagged. That was really the only disappointing part though.

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