StarCraft II Will Have Monthly Fees, But Only In Russia

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StarCraft II Will Have Monthly Fees, But Only In Russia

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Would-be StarCraft II buyers in Russia will have the option to buy the game at a greatly reduced cost, but after a year they'll have to pay a monthly subscription fee.

Okay, wait. If you just read the part of the title that says "StarCraft II Will Have Monthly Fees," then just take a deep breath and put the pitchforks and torches down. It's not that clear-cut at all.

Last week, Blizzard announced that StarCraft II would be retailing for $60 here in the States - just like Warcraft III and Diablo II - unless you wanted to pick up the $100 super-special-awesome mega collector's edition. However, regional prices do vary, thanks to currency exchange rates, taxes, and the like.

As it turns out, someone in Blizzard Europe either thought that people living in Russia couldn't afford a $60 game, or that they wouldn't pay for it - Russia is infamous for record rates of software piracy. A Blizzard representative has confirmed that the pricing plan for Russian gamers will be one based on "installments."

Essentially, StarCraft II will be sold in Russia in two versions: A standard DVD case for 999 rubles ($34.36, 22.38 or €25.41 - approximately half the price of the regular European version) or a jewel-case version for 499 rubles ($17.16, 11.13 or €12.63). Players who shell out 999 rubles will have a year of access to the Battle.net multiplayer - but only on Russian servers, not with the whole of Europe - while those who buy the cheaper version will get four months of access to the same.

After the time has run out, the players will have to pay 100 rubles ($3.44, 2.23, €2.53) a month for continued access to Battle.net. However, Russian StarCraft II buyers will, at any time, be able to "upgrade" to the complete version of the game that will be sold elsewhere in Europe for "about 30 Euros," giving them full, unlimited access to Battle.net there on out.

The Blizzard rep confirmed to worried Polish gamers that this pricing model would only apply to Russia, and not any other countries anywhere in Europe.

I'm betting that most of you shared my initial reaction on reading that SC2 would have a subscription - uneasy surprise - but the more I read about this, the more I think it's actually a very clever way to approach selling a product in a part of the world where people have comparatively less disposable income, and where piracy is so high as a result.

I'd be willing to bet that a lot of gamers - Russian or not - wouldn't be playing StarCraft II for more than a year (some might not even stay four months), so they'll never have to worry about the subscription fees. For those who are interested in more long-term play, there's the option to upgrade for a one-off payment.

Giving people options - especially on how they pay for things - isn't a bad thing, is it? Of course, that won't stop the knee-jerk reactions from people who read "monthly subscription" and scream fleeing for the hills, but what can you do?

Update: According to Blizzard poster Xordiah, Russian gamers will have the option to buy the standard European version for the full cost and not have to bother with any of this at all:

"Of course that is also an option that Russian players have. The subscription model is mainly for those players that would not be able to afford the European version. This will also give them the option of buying the less expensive game and then afterwards deciding that the game is worth upgrading to the European version and as such they will have access to European as well as the Russian servers."

(Via IncGamers)

Permalink

Well, whats the odds that the BlizzCon 2010 plane crashes after this?

So, wait, theres no option for Russian players to buy a more expensive non-sucsciption based version?

Giving people the choice to may monthly and pay cheaper is one thing... giving people that as the only choice when there are other ways available is another.

Simalacrum:
So, wait, theres no option for Russian players to buy a more expensive non-sucsciption based version?

Giving people the choice to may monthly and pay cheaper is one thing... giving people that as the only choice when there are other ways available is another.

No, there is. You buy the game and then immediately upgrade for about 30 Euros (which was the price listed on IncGamers, I don't know what that translates into in Rubles).

John Funk:

I'd be willing to bet that a lot of gamers - Russian or not - wouldn't be playing StarCraft II for more than a year (some might not even stay four months), so they'll never have to worry about the subscription fees.

Isn't Starcraft still being played a lot around the world and now only starting to be replaced by the Starcraft 2 Beta? Given the longevity of Blizzard games in terms of player base, not to mention that they have two major expansion packs for the game ready to be brought out, are you sure that few people will be playing it after only a year?

John Funk:

Simalacrum:
So, wait, theres no option for Russian players to buy a more expensive non-sucsciption based version?

Giving people the choice to may monthly and pay cheaper is one thing... giving people that as the only choice when there are other ways available is another.

No, there is. You buy the game and then immediately upgrade for about 30 Euros (which was the price listed on IncGamers, I don't know what that translates into in Rubles).

...*reads article again*

Oh yeah!

If thats the case, then fair enough... that makes more sense.

Seems like a smart, and practical, business decision to me.

I don't get all the pissing and moaning about monthly fees. But, people have cried about them for as long as there -have- been monthly fees, so... guess I'll just put my earplugs back in.

Options are always good, however, I feel like they should still include full 60 dollar (whatever that translates to in Russian currency) options in retail stores. It seems almost like a slap to Russian consumers if they still have to activate their product later on for 30 more Rubles, simply because an American company thought they were too poor to pay the full price immediately.

John Funk:

Simalacrum:
So, wait, theres no option for Russian players to buy a more expensive non-sucsciption based version?

Giving people the choice to may monthly and pay cheaper is one thing... giving people that as the only choice when there are other ways available is another.

No, there is. You buy the game and then immediately upgrade for about 30 Euros (which was the price listed on IncGamers, I don't know what that translates into in Rubles).

That would be approximately 1200 roubles.
Hooray for useless information.
OT: Do not like this.
Seriously, this sounds pretty dodgy.

DAM YOU ACTIVISION!

Heard about this last week. It's an awesome idea actually.

Anyhow, I read that this wasn't due to Blizzard but some Russian request. Got that info from a poster on TeamLiquid but not sure of its validity.

Mackheath:
Well, whats the odds that the BlizzCon 2010 plane crashes after this?

Ohhh...Topical!

But, it does seem a little buit of a farce...not fair to them at all..

Not G. Ivingname:

John Funk:

I'd be willing to bet that a lot of gamers - Russian or not - wouldn't be playing StarCraft II for more than a year (some might not even stay four months), so they'll never have to worry about the subscription fees.

Isn't Starcraft still being played a lot around the world and now only starting to be replaced by the Starcraft 2 Beta? Given the longevity of Blizzard games in terms of player base, not to mention that they have two major expansion packs for the game ready to be brought out, are you sure that few people will be playing it after only a year?

Oh, I'm sure plenty of people will be playing it after a year, but those are the people who will probably find enough value in it to want to spend the extra money to upgrade to the unlimited version.

JourneyThroughHell:

John Funk:

Simalacrum:
So, wait, theres no option for Russian players to buy a more expensive non-sucsciption based version?

Giving people the choice to may monthly and pay cheaper is one thing... giving people that as the only choice when there are other ways available is another.

No, there is. You buy the game and then immediately upgrade for about 30 Euros (which was the price listed on IncGamers, I don't know what that translates into in Rubles).

That would be approximately 1200 roubles.
Hooray for useless information.
OT: Do not like this.
Seriously, this sounds pretty dodgy.

Thanks for the clarification. Which is a bit more than the original box price... assuming you wanted to upgrade to the full version off the bat, then, there doesn't seem to be any reason to go with the 999 ruble version.

redmarine:
Heard about this last week. It's an awesome idea actually.

Anyhow, I read that this wasn't due to Blizzard but some Russian request. Got that info from a poster on TeamLiquid but not sure of its validity.

Oh? If you could get me a source on that it'd be interesting.

John Funk:

Not G. Ivingname:

John Funk:

I'd be willing to bet that a lot of gamers - Russian or not - wouldn't be playing StarCraft II for more than a year (some might not even stay four months), so they'll never have to worry about the subscription fees.

Isn't Starcraft still being played a lot around the world and now only starting to be replaced by the Starcraft 2 Beta? Given the longevity of Blizzard games in terms of player base, not to mention that they have two major expansion packs for the game ready to be brought out, are you sure that few people will be playing it after only a year?

Oh, I'm sure plenty of people will be playing it after a year, but those are the people who will probably find enough value in it to want to spend the extra money to upgrade to the unlimited version.

Oh... sorry, didn't know what you mean.

Dude could I have that option here in the states? I don't care about multiplayer battle.net because I suck at RTS but I would like to beat up on the computer and play through the storyline.

Go go blizzard, give us $17 option in the US!

John Funk:

Simalacrum:
So, wait, theres no option for Russian players to buy a more expensive non-sucsciption based version?

Giving people the choice to may monthly and pay cheaper is one thing... giving people that as the only choice when there are other ways available is another.

No, there is. You buy the game and then immediately upgrade for about 30 Euros (which was the price listed on IncGamers, I don't know what that translates into in Rubles).

What if they are unable to pay online? Because of a lack of creditcards, lack of Paypal support in Russia or similar?
They'd be left in the very cold if they can't buy the complete game from the store, aren't they?
Obviously they would be a minority, but the point stands.

shit, i hope this dosnt count in ukraine.

OT:a very bad money sucking idea. i'd rather shell out 200 grivins
(1 euro is 12 grivins work it out for yorself)

to not pay for fees like that. blizzard are getting evil.

NAHTZEE:
shit, i hope this dosnt count in ukraine.

OT:a very bad money sucking idea. i'd rather shell out 200 grivins
(1 euro is 12 grivins work it out for yorself)

to not pay for fees like that. blizzard are getting evil.

Well, they merged with Activision, so people seem to think Bobby Palpatines aura is rubbing off.

In other words, if they pay the original full price for the game they don't get stuck with a monthly fee.

If that's the case then why did Blizzard even bother making these other subscription based editions at all, since nobody with a working brain would keep shelling out a monthly fee if it just costs an extra 30 bucks to upgrade to the normal free version.

Funny how the minute I saw Rubles I was working out how much each of those costs where in STALKER terms... My conclusion:

Guns are more expensive than games... Infact so are a lot of things in the zone. You could get some bandages, tinned food, and a medikit for the price of Starcraft...

Monocle Man:

John Funk:

Simalacrum:
So, wait, theres no option for Russian players to buy a more expensive non-sucsciption based version?

Giving people the choice to may monthly and pay cheaper is one thing... giving people that as the only choice when there are other ways available is another.

No, there is. You buy the game and then immediately upgrade for about 30 Euros (which was the price listed on IncGamers, I don't know what that translates into in Rubles).

What if they are unable to pay online? Because of a lack of creditcards, lack of Paypal support in Russia or similar?
They'd be left in the very cold if they can't buy the complete game from the store, aren't they?
Obviously they would be a minority, but the point stands.

I honestly don't know. It's entirely possible that they WILL be able to upgrade from a retail box; I don't know what Blizzard has planned.

John Funk:

redmarine:
Heard about this last week. It's an awesome idea actually.

Anyhow, I read that this wasn't due to Blizzard but some Russian request. Got that info from a poster on TeamLiquid but not sure of its validity.

Oh? If you could get me a source on that it'd be interesting.

Sure. Made a copy of the post but I don't have the link to it. I'll see if I can find the source again.

Blue just confirmed that it is for Russia only, all other countries will be able to play it for no fee, this is something that Russia has decided upon and has nothing to do with Blizzard.

source.... http://forums.battle.net/thread.html?topicId=24262386737&sid=5010&pageNo=2

Guess I was wrong, this was, indeed Legit.

EDIT:uhh... apparently Russian player can upgrade their account to a full EU account and then they won't have to pay any more monthly fees, wtf?

However, it was just a statement made by a poster. I wasn't able to verify the claim.

John Funk:

Thanks for the clarification. Which is a bit more than the original box price... assuming you wanted to upgrade to the full version off the bat, then, there doesn't seem to be any reason to go with the 999 ruble version.

Just to clarify: since there are no monthly fees for the Battle.net thingy in other countries of the world, how much will the game cost for you?
Don't get me wrong, it sounds like a fair game but the Polish freaked out and Blizzard had to "comfort" (for the lack of a better word) them.

DAMN YUO ACTIVISEON!!!!

i hate those guys though they might be invited for tea with high moon studios and trasnformers war for cybertron

Something tells me that everyone will pirate it anyway. Such is mentality 'round here. And i don't get why a game must cost $60 in any part of the world, besides the fact that Actidouchebags are publishing it. It may have been costly to produce, but can't Blizzard sell games at cheaper prices, with them having WoW as a steady source of income and all?

Mackheath:
Well, what are the odds that the BlizzCon 2010 plane crashes after this?

I see what you did there. Real funny, hurr durr.

JourneyThroughHell:

John Funk:

Thanks for the clarification. Which is a bit more than the original box price... assuming you wanted to upgrade to the full version off the bat, then, there doesn't seem to be any reason to go with the 999 ruble version.

Just to clarify: since there are no monthly fees for the Battle.net thingy in other countries of the world, how much will the game cost for you?
Don't get me wrong, it sounds like a fair game but the Polish freaked out and Blizzard had to "comfort" (for the lack of a better word) them.

The game will cost $60 here in the States.

Kollega:
Something tells me that everyone will pirate it anyway. Such is mentality 'round here. And i don't get why a game must cost $60, besides the fact that Actidouchebags are publishing it. It may have been costly to produce, but can't Blizzard sell games at cheaper prices, with them having WoW as a steady source of income and all?

Mackheath:
Well, what are the odds that the BlizzCon 2010 plane crashes after this?

I see what you did there. Real funny, hurr durr.

Activision has nothing to do with the $60 price; it's just what Blizzard sells its games at (see: WC3, Diablo 2).

John Funk:

JourneyThroughHell:

John Funk:

Thanks for the clarification. Which is a bit more than the original box price... assuming you wanted to upgrade to the full version off the bat, then, there doesn't seem to be any reason to go with the 999 ruble version.

Just to clarify: since there are no monthly fees for the Battle.net thingy in other countries of the world, how much will the game cost for you?
Don't get me wrong, it sounds like a fair game but the Polish freaked out and Blizzard had to "comfort" (for the lack of a better word) them.

The game will cost $60 here in the States.

Fair game, then.
And I wanted to rage on Blizzard.
Ehh. Buzzkill))).

On the positive side, it could be spun as a "pay some and pay the rest in 4/12 months" system. I doubt they'll get anywhere with this, however.

So you buy it for the equivalent of about $15-$18, and then you can upgrade for the equivalent about $30 or play monthly for the equivalent of about $4.00.

Sounds fair enough. Even if someone buys the full DVD case and the lifetime subscription, she or he will still be paying about the same as everyone else around the world.

YES, THANK YOU GOD FOR GETTING RID OF RUSSIAN PLAYERS IN MY MULTIPLAYER GAMES.

Seriously, it's a relief. Everytime I play any online game I get paired up with a russian who doesn't speak english and will just go out and do his own thing. In a co-op game... like L4D.

Radu889:
YES, THANK YOU GOD FOR GETTING RID OF RUSSIAN PLAYERS IN MY MULTIPLAYER GAMES.

Seriously, it's a relief. Everytime I play any online game I get paired up with a russian who doesn't speak english and will just go out and do his own thing.

Yeah and also they play badly because they're all drunk on vodka, and they stop gathering minerals after a while because they're commies and want to leave enough minerals for other players.
Don't stereotype, please. Plenty of russian players know English, and plenty of americans ignore appeals for strategy and just do their own thing.

warcraft 3 wasnt 60 bucks, it was 50 like any decent pc title. damn activision for the stupid "oh I wanna make as much money off everything, Im gonna jack up the prices to fuck with ppl"

John Funk:
($34.36, 22.38 or €25.41 - approximately half the price of the regular European version)

Wait, any news on the UK pricing?

Because if 22 is half price- 45! that's ridiculous.

I'm just happy I don't have to endure endless Russian spamming in game chats like every single other game's European server.

I'd like to see this applied to other games, and regions. I have a bunch of games I wouldn't have minded some discount on for not having the multiplayer part. Far Cry 2 for example, never touched the multiplayer. Crysis, Red Faction Guerilla, GTA IV. Yes, I think I support Blizzard's new model.

Also, where's the "In mother Russia" joke?

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