The esports industry is absolutely no stranger to watcher-funded prize pools. I know this. We’ve watched as companies like Riot Games and Hi-Rez have allowed esports fan to run up the prize pools with contributions in exchange for various rewards. I get it. It saves companies from having to pony up so much themselves, and it causes fans to become even more invested in watching and cheering for their favorite teams.
But somehow, when Blizzard began doing the same thing for World of Warcraft’s Arena World Championship and Mythic Dungeon International events, it hasn’t gotten the same free pass. People are downright grumpy about them. Just peek at the comments on the Twitter announcement thread unveiling the toys whose purchase prize will partly fund the pools. Yikes.
Maybe people are just salty about the big Blizzard layoffs, or salty about perceived poor development of World of Warcraft in general, or salty about WoW esports (PvP or PvE), or salty about being asked to help pay for the prize pool, or maybe salty because so little of what players are paying for these toys is going to the pool (it’s only 25%).
Do you think gamers should be funding esports prize pools for billion-dollar companies? And if you’re grumpy about the WoW ask, why specifically?