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April 3, 2013

2013 World Championship Series Unifies Global StarCraft® II eSports

Global partnership with the biggest names in eSports to make StarCraft II professional gaming more exciting and easier to follow than ever before 

SEOUL, South Korea—April 3—Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced a new StarCraft® II World Championship Series for 2013 that establishes the first-ever official global ranking system for StarCraft II eSports. Operated in partnership with the world's premier eSports organizations—the Korea eSports Association (KeSPA), Ongamenet (OGN), GomTV, Major League Gaming (MLG), Turtle Entertainment (ESL), and Twitch—the WCS features elite StarCraft II competition in three leagues (Korean, American, European) and provides a unified, cohesive global structure for players, fans, and major tournament organizers.

In the WCS, players in each league will compete in three seasons and clash in three global season finals, earning points within the WCS’s global ranking system for their performance along the way. The fierce competition will then culminate in a global grand final at BlizzCon® in Anaheim, Calif. this November, where the top-ranked players for the year will compete for the title of StarCraft II World Champion.

“The structure of the StarCraft II World Championship Series is the result of an ongoing collaborative effort between Blizzard and our partners,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “Our collective goal was to make StarCraft II eSports even more exciting and easier to follow for fans than ever before. On the heels of the successful launch of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, we're all very excited about the present and future of StarCraft II eSports.”

The new structure kicks off with WCS Korea GSL on April 4. OGN will produce season 2 in Korea, with WCS Korea StarLeague. GomTV and OGN will alternate operation of the WCS Korea seasons and work in collaboration to broadcast all WCS Korea action in Korea via their respective online and TV broadcast platforms.

Operation of the American and European leagues will be managed by MLG and Turtle Entertainment (ESL), respectively. Scheduling and other information related to the American and European leagues will be announced at a later date.

Twitch, the official broadcast partner for the WCS, will broadcast all competition worldwide on its online platform through a unified StarCraft II destination, where fans can watch the action from all regions free in ad-supported 720p HD.

To learn more about the StarCraft II WCS, visit http://www.starcraft2.com/wcs.

About Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.

Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft® and the Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® franchises, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (www.blizzard.com), a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry's most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainment’s track record includes sixteen #1-selling games and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company's online-gaming service, Battle.net®, is one of the largest in the world, with millions of active players.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: Information in this press release that involves Blizzard Entertainment’s expectations, plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Blizzard Entertainment generally uses words such as “outlook,” “will,” “could,” “would,” “might,” “remains,” “to be,” “plans,” “believes,” “may,” “expects,” “intends,” “anticipates,” “estimate,” “future,” “plan,” “positioned,” “potential,” “project,” “remain,” “scheduled,” “set to,” “subject to,” “upcoming” and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause Blizzard Entertainment’s actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release include, but are not limited to, sales levels of Blizzard Entertainment’s titles, shifts in consumer spending trends, the impact of the current macroeconomic environment, the seasonal and cyclical nature of the interactive game market, declines in software pricing, product returns and price protection, product delays, retail acceptance of Blizzard Entertainment’s products, competition from the used game market, industry competition and competition from other forms of entertainment, rapid changes in technology, industry standards and consumer preferences, including interest in specific genres such as real-time strategy, action–role-playing and massively multiplayer online games, protection of proprietary rights, litigation against Blizzard Entertainment, maintenance of relationships with key personnel, customers, licensees, licensors, vendors and third-party developers, including the ability to attract, retain and develop key personnel and developers who can create high quality “hit” titles, counterparty risks relating to customers, licensees, licensors and manufacturers, domestic and international economic, financial and political conditions and policies, foreign exchange rates and tax rates, and the identification of suitable future acquisition opportunities, and the other factors identified in the risk factors section of Activision Blizzard’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Blizzard as of the date of this release, and neither Blizzard Entertainment nor Activision Blizzard assumes any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of Blizzard Entertainment or Activision Blizzard and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.