Nostalgia pays off, and it’s already made Blizzard a fortune. Back in 2012 about a dozen million players bought Diablo 3 out of nostalgia for a decade old game. A couple of months ago those same players unzipped their pockets for the Necromancer DLC.
Blizzard used it’s experience with other games to sell StarCraft: Remastered, and it has done a fantastic job.
How Blizzard built up momentum for StarCraft: Remastered Launch
Step 1. Steve Jobs style announcement
Back in march Blizzard announced “I <3 StarCraft Community” event that would consist of StarCraft: Brood War show matches between legendary players Flash, Jaedong, Bisu and Stork, as well as StarCraft 2 GSL Code S finals between soO and Stats. The event was very appealing for all generations of StarCraft players/viewers because each progamer has a fantastic history and fan base.
At the beginning of the event Michael Morhaime thanked the community for 19 years of loyalty and announced changes coming to StarCraft: Brood War. He said the game would get an observer mode, and become free for everyone to play. Then Morhaime had a “One more thing” moment that led into a trailer with
new iPhone StarCraft: Remastered announcement.
The announcement was followed by the show matches and it was enough to throw any old school player into fanatic anticipation of the game. Later that night Stats won GSL Code S Finals, the most prestigious StarCraft 2 tournament, but most of the viewers were still focused on the show matches and SC:R announcement.
Step 2. Building up the momentum
(Terran victory screen)
Next couple of months Blizzard was releasing interviews with designers and artwork of remastered game portraits, end-game screens and so forth. Players in no way were allowed to forget that SC:R was coming.
Step 3. Pre-launch event
At the end of July Blizzard held GG Together event with even more legendary players. This time show matches were played in beta-version of SC:R and it looked fantastic.
According to EsportsCharts, the event viewership on different streaming platforms peaked at 330 889k. Unfortunately, we can’t tell how many unique users tuned in to the multiple streams and watched VODs afterwards.
Blizzard announced that the game would come out on 14 August and cost $15 for players who previously didn’t own StarCraft: Brood War. People who pre-purchased the game, also received additional content such as unique main building skin and Stukov Co-op commander for StarCraft 2.
Step 4. A true Launch event with Day, TasteTossis, iNcontrol, White-Ra and others
The Korean players always dominated in StarCraft, but it doesn’t mean that there were no players around the world. Some of those foreign Brood War players are relevant personalities in modern esport communities, but last week they gathered at Day’s house to play StarCraft and talk about good ol’ days.
I have watched many esports events this year in different games, but this one was the absolute killer for me. I don’t mean to say that it was better than The International, or PGL Krakow or any other premier event. It’s just in pauses between games instead of the usual panel you end up with dudes discussing how 10-15 years ago they would play StarCraft and other games in LAN parties, how later they tried to get good at one specific game and how they traveled to another city to meet online friends and play in a local tournament.
There is one word that sums up all the feelings you get by watching the tournament in Day’s house, it’s “nostalgia”. This weird sentimental feeling threw members of StarCraft and other esport communities into a state of euphoric excitement about the game that in combination with Counter-Strike 1.6 formed computer sport industry as we know it today.
If you read this article closely, you will see, that every step Blizzard took to promote SC:R, was meant to enhance nostalgia and spread it even among players, who started following esports in recent years. We can’t tell how many copies of the game Blizzard managed to sell, but the game feels very alive with lots of open lobbies and ladder that finds an opponent in less then a minute.