Blizzard head encourages eSports events to offer a free stream; also wants to push games in developing economies

StarCraft II

Most StarCraft leagues are still Pay Per View, but this weekend’s StarCraft 2 World Championship Finals in Shanghai were streamed for free so that any bugger might see them. The move represents the beginning of a conscious effort on Blizzard’s part to “lower the barrier for people who are interested and curious”, says Mike Morhaime, who also talked about the company’s progress in breaking into developing economies.

At a weekend press conference, Morhaime told GamePlanet: “I think it’s important to offer a free option, a decent quality free option.

“I think it’s important to grow the size of the audience and really lower the barrier for people who are interested and curious. That’s something we’d like to see in the future. That’s what a lot of the broadcasters are doing already. In terms of the quality of stream, we’re providing a 720p stream for free.

“Maybe I could see a situation where maybe the highest quality streams are something that have payment gates in front of them,” he added. “But I do think that there’s some level of quality that should be offered to everyone.”

Later, Morhaime spoke about Blizzard’s hopes to break into new economies; economies in which more and more potential players are acquiring the tools needed to play WoW or StarCraft:

“I think that the big opportunity is these economies are developing,” he said. “There are more people who can afford to spend money on entertainment. More and more people have access to gaming devices and good broadband connections. And these are the kinds of things that stand in the way of growth for us.

“And so I think a lot of these barriers will go away automatically without us having to do anything. So our job is just to make our games accessible to people to those people in those markets through good distribution, good online distribution, and convenient payment methods for people in those areas.”

Morhaime likely has his eye on China, where Mists of Pandaria received government approval only two months ago.

Did you watch this weekend’s stream? Would you, had it been PPV?

Thanks, Team Liquid.