Blizzard’s Starcraft was the game that brought Esports from the depths of obscurity to the surface of gaming and entertainment.
The ‘game competitions’ that were once limited to small LAN parties in cramped rooms have evolved into major worldwide tournaments housed in giant stadiums. It’s hard to imagine Esports getting this far without Starcraft and the effort and care that Blizzard put into the game.
After the legendary success of Starcraft, so many Esports-ready games have been created: Counter-Strike, WarCraft 3, DOTA, League of Legends, and Overwatch, just to name a few. These games have often succeeded by adopting the Esports strategy that Blizzard has been using, while others have helped the system evolve with their own ideas.
Kim Phan, the Director of Esports Operations at Blizzard, is the center of Blizzard’s Esports strategies and is also someone who truly loves games.
Kim Phan, who used to work at an IT company in the U.S, had a passionate love for games. She made a fan site for WarCraft 3, commentated matchups, and managed a professional team, even though they didn’t bring her much income. It wasn’t a job one could tend to without passion and love for Esports.
Blizzard brought Kim Phan to their Esports team because of that passion. The new role she got on that team was the same as before: pouring her fervor for Esports into her work and sharing it with fellow fans.
It has been over 10 years since she joined in 2006. Kim Phan’s position went up and her role became more challenging. She eventually became a manager for all Esports played with Blizzard’s games, and now makes Blizzard-hosted Esports programs and regional Esports programs.
Much of Blizzard’s renowned Esports ventures, such as Starcraft WCS, Overwatch League, and the Esports events held at BlizzCon every year, are the result of Kim Phan’s work.
Blizzard has been the closest to the center of Esports since 10 years ago and is more than likely to remain so in the future. They’ve been releasing many Esports-worthy titles for ages. When fans and players grew tired of watching Starcraft 1, they came out with superstars for Warcraft 3. When Warcraft 3 began to lose its popularity, Starcraft 2 came out, which was followed by Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, and Overwatch Esports. With so many Esports titles, watching the matches and events from just Blizzard can keep viewers engaged for weeks on end.
Some say that the industry of competitive entertainment is changing; the popularity of gaming tournaments and events may soon be a threat to the popularity of traditional sports like baseball and soccer. Countless media speak positively of Esports and its market growth potentials, and sports sponsors are making their own Esports teams. This growing interest that the world has shown in Esports is an amazing phenomenon, but it would not have happened without the dedication and care that people like Kim Phan have for Esports. She and many other related figures will be sharing their passion at the IGEC - ESPORTS DEEP DIVE.
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