In the ever-evolving world of esports, where newer games like Apex Legends and time-tested giants such as League of Legends hold significant sway, Cloud9’s recent signing announcement has left the esports community perplexed. The signing of Koh ‘GuMiho’ Byung-jae, a professional Starcraft 2 (SC2) player, raised several eyebrows, especially considering the diminished popularity of SC2 in recent years.
Starcraft 2: A Retrospective
A decade ago, SC2 was the talk of the esports town. It was during this period that SC2 had its golden era. However, the enthusiasm around it has notably waned. The decline is evident in viewership numbers: from an impressive 170,000 viewers at its peak in 2018 for SC2 Worlds to a meager 73,000 in 2023. When juxtaposed with other esports behemoths — League’s 2022 Worlds attracting a staggering 5,147,701 peak viewers and Dota 2’s TI11 boasting 1,751,086 — the fading charm of SC2 is undeniable.
Cloud9’s Calculated Gamble?
The obvious question arises: Why would Cloud9 make such a move now? The esports industry is dynamic, with games rising and falling in popularity, but it’s undeniable that SC2’s prime days seem behind it. Yet, Cloud9’s aim to “dominate” another game is clear, even if their chosen battleground is one that’s witnessing its sunset.
Time to dominate a new game 💪
Join us in welcoming Cloud9's first-ever StarCraft II player, @Gumihosc2! #C9WIN pic.twitter.com/b47EcRHPzS
— Cloud9 (@Cloud9) November 1, 2023
The Value of Starcraft 2
It’s essential to clarify that the diminishing viewership or competitive scene doesn’t translate to SC2 being inferior. As a Blizzard title, it has had its glorious moments and still holds a dear place in the hearts of many. But with the esports landscape being as competitive as ever, with games vying for player base, audience attention, and sponsorships, SC2 has had a tough time keeping up.
A Hopeful Future for Starcraft 2 with Cloud9
Despite the odds, Cloud9’s entry into the SC2 scene has been a silver lining for the loyal SC2 community. This bold move might just be what’s needed to reinvigorate interest in the game. While it remains to be seen if this will herald a resurgence for SC2, one thing is for sure: Cloud9’s audacious decision has undoubtedly shaken things up.
What does Cloud9 Know that we Don’t?
Diving into SC2 at this juncture might seem like a step back for many, but it also speaks volumes about Cloud9’s confidence and the potential they see in the game. As with any sport or game, fortunes can change rapidly, and perhaps Cloud9’s involvement might breathe fresh life into SC2. Only time will tell.