After a long (and occasionally controversial) series of events, announcements and actions, this chapter of Blizzard’s Korean eSports saga appears to have reached a conclusion: GomTV is coming out on top with all other Korean eSports organizations receiving a sort of a grace period to adjust to the new reality until August 2010, the end of the current pro-gaming season.
According to multiple sources, most importantly TL’s detailed translation of the Korean news pieces, GomTV will have exclusive rights to operate and broadcast all Blizzard games in Korea. On the flip side, all other current operators, many of which have been managing leagues and TV broadcasts for almost a decade – such as KeSPA(Korean eSports Player Association), OnGameNet and MBCGame (Korean television channels) – are no longer authorized to handle Blizzard titles.
Mike Morhaime, Blizzard’s CEO, has commented on the Korean situation multiple times in the past. Mike has now released an open letter to the Korean eSports community, explaining the reasoning behind the partnership, as well as its terms and meaning to the community. Here are some highlights from the letter:
In 2007, we were shocked and disappointed to learn that KeSPA had illegally sold the broadcasting rights for Starcraft tournaments without our consent. With this clear violation of our intellectual property rights, we were forced to become more actively involved in the situation and make our voice be heard. Even so, we began talks with KeSPA in good faith so we could find a way to protect our intellectual property rights as well as help e-Sports to grow further.
2007 also happens to be the year that StarCraft 2 was announced in. Selling broadcasting rights to a game KeSPA doesn’t own obviously angered some people over at Blizzard.
For the following three years, we tried very hard to have negotiations where we could correct a skewed situation and reach mutual understanding. However, during this process, what we learned was that KeSPA did not recognize our intellectual property rights, and that our suggestions even up to this day, echoed unheard while KeSPA offered no solutions of their own.
This three year period, which we have recently covered, had only one predictable outcome, and it comes as no surprise to fans who have followed Blizzard’s very consistent line of statements.
With the release of “Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty” approaching, we decided we could not delay any further in finding a trustworthy partner who respected our intellectual property rights, and decided it was time to find a new way altogether.
Our best wishes and congratulations go to GomTV for securing such a valuable and exclusive partnership. Hopefully, it will keep eSports clean, increase its popularity and broadcast it free for fans to enjoy worldwide.
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