Thursday, April 8, 2010

Starcraft 2 pricing announced. P.S.: We're screwed.


The physical manifestation of Starcraft 2 was revealed today. You can get the standard edition for $60, or the collector's edition for $100. A bit on the pricey side, but not unexpected.

What is unexpected:
"Digital copies of the game will be available to download through Battle.net "shortly after release" of the retail Sku."

Join the 21st century, Blizzard. Let us download the game on Day 1.

Wait, I shouldn't be complaining to Blizz. I should be complaining to Activision, since they are clearly in full control now. I'm assuming this decision was made by the marketing and sales departments because there is some advantage to forcing Day 1 buyers into the stores (whether a deal with Gamestop or unwillingness to pay for the bandwidth necessary to handle the demand).

What makes me absolutely sure that Bobby Kotick is at the helm are a few other little surprises in the collector's edition:

1) A WoW pet. Seriously? It makes sense from a marketing standpoint, but damn it's exploitative.

2) "Exclusive Battle.net downloadable content, including special portraits for your Battle.net profile, decals to customize your units in-game, and a..."

I cut that statement off because the last part deserves it's own number. Decals to customize units in-game? That just screams value-added content to me. Pay $100 for the base game, then get on the Microtransaction Express and keep shipping your money directly to Blizzard so they can use it on an Orc statue and paying Bobby Kotick and shareholders rather than using it on development! But that pales in comparison to:

3) "...and a visually unique version of the terran Thor unit"

...

WHAT?!?!?!

Are you kidding me?!? You're going to be able to pay to make your individual units look different?

Blizzard's motto is very quickly shifting from "when it's ready" to "anything for a buck".

Customer . . . loyalty . . . failing . . .

Everyone who believed the PR saying the Activision merger wouldn't change Blizzard: please accept this bottle of ketchup, which should make it less unpleasant for you to eat your words.

1 comment:

ct12 said...

Blizz marketing is wholly independent and autonomous from Activision. I know this because I've interviewed there, all the way through multiple phone interviews and a whole day of on-site interviews with the folks who run Blizzard marketing. They do not take any direction from Activision management or Bobby K. The trendy blog/forum paranoid conspiracy theory about Activision's involvement in Blizzard's game design and marketing is without merit. The Blizzard team demanded and got complete autonomy in the merger, which Bobby K was more than happy to give them to keep them from bailing out.

Cross-promoting games is smart business, and doesn't indicate a slippery-slope to "getting screwed".