Blizzard Dropped Over $100 Million On StarCraft II

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Blizzard Dropped Over $100 Million On StarCraft II

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Getting StarCraft II out of the door was an extremely costly venture for Blizzard, not that it matters in the long run.

Blizzard's style of making a videogame that is ready "when it's ready" sure costs a lot of money. The Wall Street Journal is reporting (subscription required) that Blizzard's StarCraft II cost more than $100 million to develop. Add in other expenses such as advertising and such, and StarCraft II becomes quite an expensive game to bring to market.

Don't forget that some of that advertising budget included putting StarCraft II on the sides of two 747s. Is this huge sum of money spent exorbitant in any way for the series? Probably not when you consider how StarCraft was still making its way into the top ten of PC game sales more than ten years after it was released in 1998, and has sold more than 11 million copies to date. StarCraft II has the potential to move just as many copies as the original, if not more.

Blizzard President Mike Morhaime told the Wall Street Journal that he hopes to recoup some of that $100 million investment by bringing in players from World of Warcraft, which is more popular worldwide than breathing. "We've brought in a lot of new players in the beta testing who've been playing World of Warcraft but have never tried Starcraft," he said. Including an exclusive World of Warcraft pet in StarCraft II's collector's edition, which is already sold out just about everywhere I've looked, didn't hurt in that regard when tens of thousands of WoW players will pay $25 for a mount.

Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has described StarCraft II as one of the company's seven "pillars of opportunity," which could each provide more than $500 million and up to even $1 billion in profit over the total product life span. With millions of copies expected to sell this year alone at $60 a pop, StarCraft II could be in the black before we celebrate 2011.

We can't ignore that the release of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is the first in the StarCraft II trilogy, focusing on the Terran race for now and moving on to the Protoss and Zerg later, so yeah, I don't think $1 billion is crazy to expect at all. In fact, it might be a little low. With these crazy amounts of profit, why not spend even more in the future? I wonder what a $200 million game would be like?

StarCraft II will begin to amass its massive profits on July 27.

[UPDATE]The Wall Street Journal admitted it made an error with the $100 million figure. It turns out that amount was spent on World of Warcraft, not StarCraft II. Blizzard hasn't released its budget for StarCraft II, but it probably cost somewhere between $1 million and $1 billion.

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i'm sure the nation of korea will singlehandedly make that entire amount back on day 1.

but regardless of korea, it certainly justifies that 60 dollar pricetag, i'd think.

Tom Goldman:
Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has described StarCraft II as one of the company's seven "pillars of opportunity," which could each provide more than $500 million and up to even $1 billion in profit over the total product life span. With millions of copies expected to sell this year alone at $60 a pop, StarCraft II could be in the black before we celebrate 2011.

What Bobby meant to say was if the Modern Warfare subscriptions don't work out he has another opportunity to milk another franchise into oblivion.

That seems absolutely insane, but it's a great game, so I'm getting it.

And Im sure they have many more hundreds of millions to spend on it

So that's what, $10m per year? ;)

I'd really be curious to see the breakdown of expenses here, to get a feeling for how much it'll cost them to make the expansions. Obviously they have the core engine and units and the like, but they still need to do CGI (mmmm, Blizzard CGI), voice-overs, new animations, etc.

John Funk:
So that's what, $10m per year? ;)

I'd really be curious to see the breakdown of expenses here, to get a feeling for how much it'll cost them to make the expansions. Obviously they have the core engine and units and the like, but they still need to do CGI (mmmm, Blizzard CGI), voice-overs, new animations, etc.

well i'm sure a LOT of this had to do with redesigning battle.net, as well as creating a lot of structure for the multiplayer and the overall engine. i'd think that hte expansions, sitting on existing architecture, should be significantly cheaper to produce.

Korea will make most the profit on the first day, If not all considering its a damn sport over there. As never trying the first StarCraft I don't know what to expect but I am going to buy the second. Yet 100 Million in it lets hope its good.

I'm going to play starcraft 1 until it's cheap.

Take that blizzard! Pull this crap on diablo again and I'll boycott you for good!

I sure hope they don't take as long making the expansions as they did making Wings of Liberty. I don't think they will since they have the the engine and battle net 2.0 which took them so long.

Rakkana:
I'm going to play starcraft 1 until it's cheap.

Take that blizzard! Pull this crap on diablo again and I'll boycott you for good!

Pull this crap?

...spending lots of money and time on a game until it's great? That's kind of their schtick you know.

Or did you mean the $60 price (which was also for WC3 and Diablo 2) and expansions (which every Blizzard game has had)?

SC1 is a great game to play tho :)

JerrytheBullfrog:

Rakkana:
I'm going to play starcraft 1 until it's cheap.

Take that blizzard! Pull this crap on diablo again and I'll boycott you for good!

Pull this crap?

...spending lots of money and time on a game until it's great? That's kind of their schtick you know.

Or did you mean the $60 price (which was also for WC3 and Diablo 2) and expansions (which every Blizzard game has had)?

SC1 is a great game to play tho :)

I mean the price and the mucked around release date.

I've also heard their releasing each character class in a different expansion pack. So we have to may extra for full content. Don't know if it's true or not but my previous reasons are enough for me to be pissed.

Also you don't know if it's great yet. All we have is a few game play videos.

JerrytheBullfrog:

Rakkana:
I'm going to play starcraft 1 until it's cheap.

Take that blizzard! Pull this crap on diablo again and I'll boycott you for good!

Pull this crap?

...spending lots of money and time on a game until it's great? That's kind of their schtick you know.

Or did you mean the $60 price (which was also for WC3 and Diablo 2) and expansions (which every Blizzard game has had)?

SC1 is a great game to play tho :)

The older games may have cost 60$ as well but it's obviously Koticks fault *trollface*

On a serious note, I think it is actually more. Regarding the development time and amount of people working on all the different stuff. 100$? I'm quite sure it's more.
Also, where do these guys get their information from? Don't tell me they just made them up...

Edit: Lol Rakkana. We're playing the Beta, you know? Just finished playing ChessCraft against a friend. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YS_6P_PNS04
Full functional chess game with sweet units. Should remind you about Magic / Wizard Chess from Harry Potter ;o

The game is in fact awesome and it gets two normal expansions. Where is the frigging problem? Did you see the campaign previews? If so, you should now why they did go this way. And expansions where pretty much set before they even started development. This time they just wanted to improve their campaign by making 3 epic ones for each race and Game / Add-on.

And Blizzard Add-ons have always been worth their price so... again no point in being angry about the oh so "greedy" Blizzard.

Rakkana:

JerrytheBullfrog:

Rakkana:
I'm going to play starcraft 1 until it's cheap.

Take that blizzard! Pull this crap on diablo again and I'll boycott you for good!

Pull this crap?

...spending lots of money and time on a game until it's great? That's kind of their schtick you know.

Or did you mean the $60 price (which was also for WC3 and Diablo 2) and expansions (which every Blizzard game has had)?

SC1 is a great game to play tho :)

I mean the price and the mucked around release date.

I've also heard their releasing each character class in a different expansion pack. So we have to may extra for full content. Don't know if it's true or not but my previous reasons are enough for me to be pissed.

Also you don't know if it's great yet. All we have is a few game play videos.

You're joking, right?

And yes, SC2 is great.

uppitycracker:

John Funk:
So that's what, $10m per year? ;)

I'd really be curious to see the breakdown of expenses here, to get a feeling for how much it'll cost them to make the expansions. Obviously they have the core engine and units and the like, but they still need to do CGI (mmmm, Blizzard CGI), voice-overs, new animations, etc.

well i'm sure a LOT of this had to do with redesigning battle.net, as well as creating a lot of structure for the multiplayer and the overall engine. i'd think that hte expansions, sitting on existing architecture, should be significantly cheaper to produce.

True. I wish they'd spent more on B.net 2.0 though. Kinda a mess right now.

John Funk:

Rakkana:

JerrytheBullfrog:

Rakkana:
I'm going to play starcraft 1 until it's cheap.

Take that blizzard! Pull this crap on diablo again and I'll boycott you for good!

Pull this crap?

...spending lots of money and time on a game until it's great? That's kind of their schtick you know.

Or did you mean the $60 price (which was also for WC3 and Diablo 2) and expansions (which every Blizzard game has had)?

SC1 is a great game to play tho :)

I mean the price and the mucked around release date.

I've also heard their releasing each character class in a different expansion pack. So we have to may extra for full content. Don't know if it's true or not but my previous reasons are enough for me to be pissed.

Also you don't know if it's great yet. All we have is a few game play videos.

You're joking, right?

Yeah I didn't have much faith in that rumor...

I'll shut up now.

I'll help blizzard out and buy the game even though I've never played Starcraft besides am a WoW player as is so i hope I get something cool lol

Tom Goldman:
StarCraft II will being to amass its massive profits on July 27

Found a typo for you.

And I'd assume most of the budget went to advertising. I mean, they licensed 747s!

John Funk:
True. I wish they'd spent more on B.net 2.0 though. Kinda a mess right now.

Also, I agree here. It seems like it has less overall functionality than the original Battle.Net. It has more bells and whistles, for sure, but it's missing a lot of core features that made WC3, SC1, and D2 BNet great.

Just Wow. I will probably play it somewhere next year, as I cannot buy any computer component or game this one, so yeah. Hopefully it won't disappoint, which would be surprising if it does since Blizzard never has.

sune26:
I sure hope they don't take as long making the expansions as they did making Wings of Liberty. I don't think they will since they have the the engine and battle net 2.0 which took them so long.

Legacy of the Void will be released 2 months after Wings of Liberty, and Heart of the Swarm will be unleashed 2 months after that. The point is that they already have all the models etc, they just need to add new missions, a few units and all the specials that come with the missions.

If Avatar the movie can pass the billion marker, so can Starcraft 2, if you look at the cult status part 1 has, especially in Korea.

$100 Million to develop, and it still only comes with one campaign?

For a while, I was concerned that this was going to be the game that I would break my Activision Boycott for. After I heard about 'premium' map packs and the campaigns getting split into three games, I realized that nothing, not even Starcraft, was safe from Bobby Kotick.

Money overwhelming, need to construct additional cash-ylons

Well, Darth Kotick's plan to build his CashStar is almost at hand. In Korea and China this will bring in more money than Modern Warfare did, so the odds are that $100 million is piss in the pool compared to what they will make.

Incidently, how much will Cataclysm cost I wonder?

The two extra games are basically freebies for Blizzard, a huge chunk of the cost of developing them will be offset by the first game, sure they will need some work, but no where near the same amount as the first one, the engine is done, the models are done, the art is done, it's just time for CHA-CHINGA...

They will make that back easy.

I like how when anytime Bobby Kotick talks, sales figures are the only thing that come out of his mouth. It's like the guy is a parakeet or something.

Anyways, I hope the $100 million was well spent. I haven't played it at all, so I'll just have to take everyone's word that it was. I like the bit about advertising though. I'm sure it'll garner new sales, but with all the press the game has been receiving I'd imagine if Blizzard decided not to advertise at all, they'd still do pretty well.

does it matter? with the WoW cash cow? besides they only then have to sell a total of 2 million copies (rounded) to make back that money. throw in collector's editions, the 2 other games that will be coming and i doubt 100mil is much

T_ConX:
$100 Million to develop, and it still only comes with one campaign?

For a while, I was concerned that this was going to be the game that I would break my Activision Boycott for. After I heard about 'premium' map packs and the campaigns getting split into three games, I realized that nothing, not even Starcraft, was safe from Bobby Kotick.

Oh yes, as always, blame it on Kotick.

Wings of Liberty has 30 missions, same number as the whole of StarCraft 1. This has been said before.

Sir Bob:

sune26:
I sure hope they don't take as long making the expansions as they did making Wings of Liberty. I don't think they will since they have the the engine and battle net 2.0 which took them so long.

Legacy of the Void will be released 2 months after Wings of Liberty, and Heart of the Swarm will be unleashed 2 months after that. The point is that they already have all the models etc, they just need to add new missions, a few units and all the specials that come with the missions.

If Avatar the movie can pass the billion marker, so can Starcraft 2, if you look at the cult status part 1 has, especially in Korea.

Er, you have them backwards - SC2T, SC2Z, SC2P is the order - and the time frame I heard was 18 months, not two months. They haven't started work on the expansions yet.

I think you are grossly underestimating the amount of work that needs to be done on the expansions. They're not going to use the same model as SC2T at all. SC2T is very mercenary oriented in the campaign; you get money to hire mercenary units and research new technology. SC2Z will have RPG stuff, where the Zerg evolve along with Kerrigan, and SC2P will reportedly be diplomacy based as you try to unite the Protoss tribes.

tkioz:
The two extra games are basically freebies for Blizzard, a huge chunk of the cost of developing them will be offset by the first game, sure they will need some work, but no where near the same amount as the first one, the engine is done, the models are done, the art is done, it's just time for CHA-CHINGA...

I know that for games like GTA4 and anything BioWare does, the voice acting is a HUGE part of the budget. Obviously it'll be less so in this game, though.

You're right that it won't be AS expensive to develop because the core stuff is already there. Still, new art, new models, new cutscenes, new missions, new mechanics, and paying a team to work for 18 months isn't cheap.

Low Key:
I like how when anytime Bobby Kotick talks, sales figures are the only thing that come out of his mouth. It's like the guy is a parakeet or something.

"Rrawrk! Bobby want a dollar! Bobby want a dollar!"

But wow, $100m on SC2? That's got to be one of the most expensive games to develop, right?

All my Korean friends are going crazy about Starcraft 2 so I can except 100 million to be brought back in a week.

Place your bets! Place your bets!

Thats one huge figure...but, it showed on the quality of what they have made.

It looks fun, and, I cannot wait to play it! So close!

That figure seems quite bloated for a RTS game. Especially since they really havent evolved too much since Dune. Though I remember a time when quality games were made in garages.

I'm going to put on my aluminum foil deflector beanie and claim Blizzard is laundering cash for some nefarious purpose through Starcraft II.

100,000,000$? hell it doesnt sound at all bad considering that they make more than that in 1 MONTH!
So for the years that went on developing Star Craft 2 they got that back 100x times.
In itself it is really a costly venture...but the quality cannot be questioned so they invest with their minds set on the fact that this baby will grow to be a strong man...marine....with diamond armor! :D

10 days left and i just cant wait :D

p.p: i didnt get my hands on the collectors edidtion...im thinking to do the old baseball bat in the alley stunt :D

They're getting that back within 8 minutes of the release.

That seems like a bit much, especially the whole

putting StarCraft II on the sides of two 747s

I mean, this game is pretty huge, right? I don't think it being on the side of a plane is going to convince anyone to buy it.

This isn't exactly my game, having played the Beta, but I will likely get it, if just for the custom maps!

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