Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey is predicting that Blizzard's highly anticipated StarCraft II won't make it into 2009, one of several snags that could make the end of this year a little bit rougher than Activision thinks it will be.
Though Blizzard's own Mike Morhaime recently declared that StarCraft II is being targeted for a release sometime later this year, some industry analysts are using recently revealed information to argue that the game might not make it until the fiscal year for 2010.
Yesterday Kotaku reported that Blizzard is planning for the SC2 multiplayer beta to last four to six months, which, depending on when the beta starts, could put SC2 dangerously on the edge of 2009, considering we're already six months into this year. Hopeful fans no doubt have their fingers crossed that's not what this means, but Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey isn't going to beat around the bush, saying: "We find it increasingly probable that the game will be released in [Activision's] fiscal '10 period."
And that's just the beginning of the bad news Janco Partners has for Activision-Blizzard. Hickey pointed out the recent boost in Activision shareholders unloading their shares as a bad sign. And despite a number of huge titles on the horizon for the year including Modern Warfare 2 and Guitar Hero 5, Hickey thinks that without price cuts, current console asking prices could "compromise holiday sales expectations."
While I am worried about Blizzard's plan for the beta pushing back the game, if that does happen it can't mean that we'll have to wait too much longer. They're not going to end the beta and then wait another year to put the game out. And what about Blizzard's declaration to put out "one front line release per year?" Without StarCraft II, they'd have nothing, right? Unless they pull World of Lost Vikings out at BlizzCon, I think they'll try their best to get StarCraft II out in 2009.