Blizzard announced some pretty big news for Starcraft 2's esports aspirations, as the company is teaming up with ESL and Dreamhack on delivering Starcraft 2 and Warcraft 3: Reforged esports competitions, with more than $4.6 million in play.
"ESL and DreamHack, both part of the leading international entertainment group MTG, are today announcing a three-year-long strategic agreement with Blizzard Entertainment. The world’s largest esports company and the premier gaming lifestyle festival organizer will create new ESL Pro Tour formats for both StarCraft II and Warcraft III: Reforged, with Blizzard providing a respective prize pool of over US $1.8 million and over US $200,000 for the first season", the announcement reads.
The announcement is certainly a big one, as it has numerous implications for Blizzard's esports efforts on Starcraft 2 and Warcraft 3: Reforged.
First and foremost, this means that the World Championship Series (WCS) is going into retirement. The company wrote that the WCS mobile app has been shut down and the WCS website will follow sometime in "early 2020".
According to the new plan, there will six international tournaments a year - four with DreamHack and another two with ESL. There will also be weekly competitions that will feed into the said events.
"The global finals will shift to the new IEM Katowice World Championship in 2021. This means SC2 esports at BlizzCon will look different in the future, but it will still be there, and we will share more details about how that will look later", Blizzard wrote.
Moreover, Starcraft 2's return to IEM Katowice prize pool, which was set to $250,000, is being increased to $400,000, which should be great news for players and attendees alike. You know, the added pressure and all.