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StarCraft II Cost $100 Million To Develop

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the did-they-have-to-send-a-space-shuttle-to-pick-up-kerrigan dept.

Real Time Strategy (Games) 414

UgLyPuNk writes with news of a report that Blizzard has spent over $100 million developing StarCraft II. Initial development on the game began in 2003, and it's due to be released on July 27th. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick "described StarCraft as one of the company’s seven 'pillars of opportunity' (where each pillar has the potential to deliver operating profit between $500 million and $1 billion over its life span)." The finalized system requirements for the game have been released, and players planning to buy the digitally distributed version can download it now, though it won't be playable until the 27th.

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414 comments

Will not be surprising (4, Insightful)

kyrio (1091003) | about 4 years ago | (#32943200)

If the crackers find a way to play before the start date.

Re:Will not be surprising (1)

Asmor (775910) | about 4 years ago | (#32943224)

I suspect it will be at least a little while before one can play a pirated copy of the game online, though, which reduces the value significantly. AFAIK all online play requires going through Blizzard's Battle.net service.

Re:Will not be surprising (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 4 years ago | (#32943308)

Personally I doubt people will be able to play without a valid key on battle.net at all. (Maybe you could generate it yourself but either it wouldn't be in their databases or it would be someone else or you would have to steal one and then it's a valid key, just not yours ..)

It hasn't been possible with Warcraft III has it? Through some emulated battle.net service or VPNs though. But that won't be the same thing.

Re:Will not be surprising (1)

Asmor (775910) | about 4 years ago | (#32943350)

People won't be able to play on Battle.net without a key. However, StarCraft II's going to be big enough that someone will come up with a hack to make it possible to play online with pirated copies. It's just a matter of how long it takes.

Re:Will not be surprising (2, Interesting)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 4 years ago | (#32943574)

StarCraft (1) had a battle.net "replacement" for pirated games and those banned on battle.net. It essentially run battle.net-like server called fsgs that required you to replace a single file in your starcraft directory to connect to. After replacement, clicking battle.net in game took you to fsgs lobby.

And it was pretty active community until blizzard shut it down (iirc) a few years ago. I would be very surprised if someone won't make a similar service for SC2, especially in light of how quickly world of warcraft server software leaks and is used on private servers after every patch.

Re:Will not be surprising (2, Informative)

Vaphell (1489021) | about 4 years ago | (#32943684)

last time i checked, ICCup server located was Russia, central hub for broodwar community, was alive and kicking. Admins tailored the bnetd/fsgs code to their needs, implemented bunch of cool stuff, working ladder and antihack among the others. It's light years above the blizzard's battle.net which is abandoned by the blizzard for many years already.

Re:Will not be surprising (2, Informative)

Idiomatick (976696) | about 4 years ago | (#32943310)

Re:Will not be surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943372)

http://www.kali.net/ [kali.net] ?

Kali works with lan games (bridges local network over the web). Last I heard SC2 doesn't have pure lan games. It all goes through battle.net.

Re:Will not be surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943234)

If they're smart, the digital download package contains everything but the game executable(s), which are downloadable by the launcher after Blizzard posts them, which won't be until launch day. No way to crack that.

Of course, they might not be smart...

Re:Will not be surprising (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 years ago | (#32943306)

Unless someone hacks a beta executable to think it's not a beta executable...

Re:Will not be surprising (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943268)

"If the crackers find a way to play before the start date."

Indeed, white people can be very impatient.

Re:Will not be surprising (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#32943272)

It would be a surprise. DRM is hard because it means giving the user the locked box, and the key, and then trying to order their computer to pretend that the key only exists on every second tuesday.

Conventional cryptography is very much up to the task of just giving the user the locked box, presumably with a dinky little stub program that will grab the decryption key when it is released.

There have been attacks, or inside jobs, before, so the decryption key(or a few vital binaries, if they went with that approach, or used it to augment this one), could theoretically get leaked; but the task of giving somebody something on day X and only releasing it on day X+Y is theoretically unproblematic. You have to actively fuck it up.

Re:Will not be surprising (-1)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 years ago | (#32943346)

I doubt the early release was worth developing a new type of 'lock box' for.

They most likely just have an installer designed to phone home and ask for permission before it begins to extract the executables, or allow execution of an executable.

Probably much like the serial number check, or the check they'll use when the digital version of the game is actually played.

IOW: I suspect they are just re-using the DRM for this purpose, and don't have special purpose-built logic for the special purpose of pre-distributing a package with a crypto-unbreakable lock.

The keys to decrypt anything are probably [somewhere] in the installer itself.

This is what talking out of your ass looks like (1)

way2trivial (601132) | about 4 years ago | (#32943404)

they SPENT ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS

YOU DOUBT? IT WAS WORTH IT? it was worth 100 million

if that kind of development expense in the private sector doesn't warrant new technology
then exactly does make it worth developing a new type of lock box for?

Re:Will not be surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943494)

Forgot one thing too, it fetches the decryption key from blizzards website on launch day.

Re:Will not be surprising (1)

Mascot (120795) | about 4 years ago | (#32943512)

Considering how trivial it is to implement the installer fetching the decryption key from a server, I don't follow your logic. We're barely talking a few lines of code, and nothing the installer could do would make the decryption key pop up on that server any sooner. Simple to implement, and unbreakable for all practical purposes.

I believe Valve has done it like this for years for their own titles, and I can't remember any of those preloads being cracked (note that I'm talking about the preloads made available through Steam, not leaked press copies and what not).

Re:Will not be surprising (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943558)

Looks like my post didn't get submitted.

The install files are encrypted with a 21 byte key. I couldn't figure out which encryption scheme, but even if it was developed inhouse. Reversing it and finding a weakness would take a long time.

Like I said earlier. It fetches the decryption key from blizzard on the 27th. On said site is nothing.

Re:Will not be surprising (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 4 years ago | (#32943710)

For those too lazy to think, realize this is 168-bit, not 21-bit. He said bytes.

It's an odd number though. I bet it's 128-bit with some extra "stuff" going on.

Re:Will not be surprising (1)

TheCycoONE (913189) | about 4 years ago | (#32943760)

It conveniently matches the standard key size of triple DES.

Re:Will not be surprising (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 4 years ago | (#32943278)

So what?

People don't buy Blizzard games to play single player. Sure it's still enjoyable and a good game but you will spend the majority of the time gaming online. And you won't be able to do that on battle.net without a valid key.

Blizzard even removed the CD-check from Warcraft III. Sure one could question whatever they did it because they thought it wouldn't sell much more anyway vs the inconvenience of having to have the CD available or if it was because they key-check when connecting online was enough. I hoped they would had skipped it altogether this time, and it seems like they did considering the download only-version. You can even register your games online and be able to download them for free whenever you need them and I assume they will also take care of your key so you don't lose it.

The people interesting in the game will most likely not even care what it would cost as long as it's a one time fee, because they know they will get hundreds of hours of fun out of it. I for sure don't. But I may not have a suitable computer for it at release date, so maybe I will get it a little sooner and then store price may have fallen somewhat. Too bad everyone else will be ahead though, but they would anyway thanks to the old game, the beta and simply being better =P, I would have to spend some time in single player anyway to learn what things are (Nothing worse than people who haven't played single player, don't know the game and don't want to lose because they are crap in 1-on-1 so they join team games and fuck up the game for everyone else. Same goes for people who ruin the game for team-mates, as in omg-sure-I-haven't-tried-to-expand-but-now-you've-taken-my-expansion-so-I-will-kill-it/you!)

Re:Will not be surprising (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943324)

People don't buy Blizzard games to play single player.

I do. In fact I've never played any Blizzard games any other way.
I'm not a fan of the 'tank rush' strategy playing these games online requires
so I doubt i'll ever play one of them online.

Re:Will not be surprising (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 4 years ago | (#32943720)

You probably won't like it anyways. I tried the beta. My teammate dropped shortly after starting, leaving it as 1vs2 (2 being the computer, on the easiest mode).

I was absolutely destroyed by a heterogeneous mob of enemy units before I even had my pants on.

I don't like RTS games that make me manage economy and production. Give me a set group of units and an objective, and I'm good. Give me a "command center" and a few "workers" and I hate you.

Re:Will not be surprising (4, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | about 4 years ago | (#32943380)

You may not get into it for single player, but there are those of us who don't play WoW because we don't have the time and like a good offline gaming experience.

Not that I'm arguing for piracy here - If I want to play I'll buy - but online is not the only thing going and I hope they haven't neglected offline play. Knowing Blizzard though, they won't have neglected it because they do put so very much effort into making their games perfect.

Re:Will not be surprising (4, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 years ago | (#32943596)

They put a lot of work into single-player mode. Reports I've heard are things like non-linear story-lines, where choices you make in game change the story, and the cut scenes that have been released already make the story look good. You never know for sure until you play it, but all signs point towards a fun game.

Re:Will not be surprising (5, Informative)

binkzz (779594) | about 4 years ago | (#32943590)

So what?

People don't buy Blizzard games to play single player. Sure it's still enjoyable and a good game but you will spend the majority of the time gaming online. And you won't be able to do that on battle.net without a valid key.

Actually, Blizzard said that over half of the Starcraft players don't intend to ever play multiplayer. I tried my best to find you a link to show it, but I failed. I hope someone else has it.

I do have a link on Blizzard's stance on DRM though: http://games.slashdot.org/story/10/05/28/0614256/Blizzard-Boss-Says-Restrictive-DRM-Is-a-Waste-of-Time [slashdot.org]

Re:Will not be surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943402)

They already cracked the digital download, but the dev team isn't going to release it until the 27th.

Lies. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943214)

$100m yet less features than stock battle.net AND the atrocity that is RealID? Oh and from what I've played in the beta a game far less polished than the original Brood War. $100m? I don't believe you.

Re:Lies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943238)

Less polished than Brood War 2 weeks after release, or Brood War 10 years after release?

Re:Lies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943280)

Doesn't matter, less polished than the previous version that players have accepted as what is "normal". Following your logic, it's ok that vista sucked compared to xp on release because xp had 5+ years of polishing after release.

Re:Lies. (1)

samoanbiscuit (1273176) | about 4 years ago | (#32943770)

Following your logic, it's ok that vista sucked compared to xp on release because xp had 5+ years of polishing after release.

Actually, yes. Not features-wise, but for stability and polish, yeah, the old version
is expected to be less featurefull but more polished, expecially when its such an entrenched
pdoduct...

Re:Lies. (1)

Jurily (900488) | about 4 years ago | (#32943344)

I agree about RealID. They only know my real name so I can pay them, and they want to show it to the entire internet?! Hopefully now that they've backed down about the forum thing, they'll rethink the whole concept. I'd like a global unique identifier over the whole internet, but it should NOT have any impact on my real life.

That said...

OMG a beta is far less polished than an expansion to an already released game that has been patched up over years! SOMEONE CALL THE POLICE!

Re:Lies. (2, Insightful)

click2005 (921437) | about 4 years ago | (#32943366)

I also call bullshit on the $100m figure. I bet there is a lot of 'Hollywood Accounting' going on there.
I also wonder how much it would be without all the cut-scene filler they seem to enjoy spending a fortune on
these days.

Re:Lies. (0)

gravos (912628) | about 4 years ago | (#32943392)

I also call bullshit on the $100m figure. I bet there is a lot of 'Hollywood Accounting' going on there. I also wonder how much it would be without all the cut-scene filler they seem to enjoy spending a fortune on these days.

Like you know better than the pros at blizzard what sells games. Ha. Haha. Hahahahahahhaa.

Re:Lies. (2, Insightful)

Vintermann (400722) | about 4 years ago | (#32943774)

Why not? Music execs are notoriously bad at picking the music that will succeed. Publishers are bad at picking up the books that will succeed. Quite often Hollywood wastes money on a big flop.

As to games, remember Age of Conan?

Blizzard appears to have a pretty good hit/miss ratio so far, but it's hard to say if it's luck, talent for seeing what will work, or just hordes of loyal fans.

Re:Lies. (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 4 years ago | (#32943442)

10 years * ~12 developers at $80 000 each gets you close to the figure. Sure the salaries are probably a bit more varied, but there are most probably other costs involved.

Re:Lies. (2, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | about 4 years ago | (#32943548)

You're off by an order of magnitude, but 120 developers on a title like SC2 is not hard to fathom at all for anyone who has sat through a big-budget VG credits screen recently.

Re:Lies. (1)

halivar (535827) | about 4 years ago | (#32943672)

By "these days", you mean every single game released by Blizzard since SC 1 back in 1998? The elaborate cut-scene always been what Blizz does. It isn't some new thing.

Re:Lies. (2, Interesting)

Surt (22457) | about 4 years ago | (#32943670)

7 years, 100 employees, averages salary 100K works out to 70 million. That's probably a lowball for both the number of employees on the SC team and their average salary. Then add equipment, acting (voice) talent, marketing, production, management, and I don't find 100M surprising. Then again, I worked on the smaller D2 team, and I know what our burn rate was there.

Linux Requirements suck... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943216)

The linux requirements on their page are a bit ridiculous.. Dual Core 2.5 GHz and Ubuntu only? Jeeze... I'll wait for the fedora rpm thank you.

Re:Linux Requirements suck... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943260)

where you got the information about Linux requirement? i dont see anything like that on blizzard support. you lie.

and still (5, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 years ago | (#32943236)

Wow, $100million dollars and STILL couldn't afford to include LAN play. No worries, someone will do it for them free ;)

Re:and still (-1, Troll)

aliquis (678370) | about 4 years ago | (#32943342)

Playing in network environments not hooked up to the Internet much?

Re:and still (5, Interesting)

Korin43 (881732) | about 4 years ago | (#32943384)

Some of the most entertaining LAN parties are in places with little or no internet access. My favorite was a cabin LAN party. The only internet access was via cell phone, and I can't image the charge if I had left it on the entire time.

Re:and still (2, Interesting)

apoc.famine (621563) | about 4 years ago | (#32943638)

Snowed in during New Year's Eve, 2000, LAN party in the drafty basement of an old farmhouse with 8-9 good friends. Enough comps that we kept the basement warm, but the drafts were cold enough by the windows and doors that we could cool the drinks there. Half the Starcraft copies were legit, half were clones of one of the others. Internet connection was something like 300/100 kpbs DSL, or maybe it was still dialup at that point.

Regardless, LAN games don't need an internet connection beyond maybe a single one for patches that someone missed. I agree - some of my best LAN parties had little in the way of internet access. They had seclusion, good friends, good food, and lots of drinks. The games weren't even that important, really.

So as it stands now, the next one will be UT2004 and maybe Dawn of War. Starcraft 2 is out, and UT3 is enough of a pain that we likely won't play it unless on a very, very beefy internet connection.

Re:and still (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943388)

Ever heard of the military much? Despite the fantasy that everyone can be fully-connected at all times, the reality is that the internet is not all that ubiquitous.

Re:and still (5, Informative)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 4 years ago | (#32943414)

I can think of plenty of situations:
  - LAN party in a plane
  - LAN party while camping
  - LAN party in a moving vehicle, other than a plane
  - LAN party while on military deployment
  - others

Why should you limit you gaming to the presence of an internet connection?

Obligatory Samuel L. Jackson line... (0)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 4 years ago | (#32943592)

I can think of plenty of situations:

- LAN party in a plane/quote>

I'm tired of all these mother fucking LAN parties on this mother fucking plane!

Re:Obligatory Samuel L. Jackson line... (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 4 years ago | (#32943606)

.......and the typos there are exactly why you shouldn't post when you only have 2 hours of sleep.......

Re:and still (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943612)

- LAN party in a plane

Yes, I forgot, we all have private planes we can zip around in for our LAN parties. Goddamned inbred blueblood bastard...

What? You don't? So... you're expecting a commercial plane to allow you to pull out wifi or drape a bunch of CAT-5 everywhere to play games on the flight? What?!?

- LAN party while camping

Camping - ur doin it wrong

- LAN party in a moving vehicle, other than a plane

Okay, maybe more understandable than a plane, but if you're THAT bored on a train ride AND you feel you really really need to play Starcraft II before the trip's over, you need help.

And if you can focus on and look at an RTS in a moving car or bus without getting sick... well, I'll just say there's a reason the phrase "highly niche market" exists, as well as the reasons said markets are quite safely ignored when profits are concerned.

- LAN party while on military deployment

I somehow feel our military has more important things to do than play Starcraft II on deployment.

Re:and still (5, Informative)

fast turtle (1118037) | about 4 years ago | (#32943764)

Our Military is deployed to many different locations. Sea for those in the Navy. Then there are all of those deployed Overseas to various NATO bases. Internet connectivity in the barracks is pretty slim there. Don't forget about all the other stations such as the EWRS (early warning radar stations) in Alaska.

Others include Cruise Ships - Yes there are some cruises geared towards Lan Parties. 3-5 day cruises and people do pay for them.

No LAN because of tyranny of the majority + profit (2, Interesting)

SexyKellyOsbourne (606860) | about 4 years ago | (#32943650)

Paranoia and profits is why you can skip LAN'ing, or even discourage it.

Anything that doesn't have to phone home to function is easily cracked. Roughly ten years ago, I played Starcraft 1 constantly, through single player and dozens of LAN parties, and never paid for it. I never cared much for battle.net.

And unlike 10 years ago, the cases where people cannot phone home with broadband access, or even internet access itself, are rare. Even console systems are borderline dependent on internet access these days. As far as camping/moving/etc goes, most reasonably-populated areas have 3G, and you'll have 3G just about everywhere in a few years.

Therefore, it's rather simple what to do. LANs without internet access are probably only 1% of gameplay these days. Maybe only 1% of gamers won't buy it because of this.

If the game wasn't required to phone home in any manner, perhaps 20% of people will probably just play the game cracked off of bittorrent. The answer's obvious: go with the extra 19% of purchases. Is it fair to those who enjoy LANs? No. Call it tyranny of the majority, call it what you will.

If you want to LAN, you can always play SC1, or just play board games.

Re:and still (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943510)

Ad-Hoc networking between laptops is not the internet.

Re:and still (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 years ago | (#32943542)

Usually when you have a LAN party, you bring a bunch of computers to someone's house or something, then plug them into a hub/switch. If you have to hook them up to the internet, that's just one more thing you have to do, one more delay before things start working.

Furthermore, I don't know how it will work in SCII, but in SCI, you cannot host from within the same masqueraded subnet. Someone with an independent IP address needs to be the host. If it works the same in SCII, it will be really bad.

Finally, the last time I played Starcraft at a LAN party was actually a graduation, and we sat in the back and set up IP over Bluetooth so we had something to do to pass the time while they were reading thousands of names. I won't be doing that with SCII at the next graduation I attend.

Re:and still (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943488)

Yes this hasn't been discussed to death yet, lets continue to beat that horse.

Why an issue? (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | about 4 years ago | (#32943704)

Wow, $100million dollars and STILL couldn't afford to include LAN play. No worries, someone will do it for them free ;)

Could someone explain why that's an issue? Is there some sort of central server needed for game play?

Dear Bobby (1, Interesting)

jpedlow (1154099) | about 4 years ago | (#32943244)

Dear Mr. Kotick,
You've already ruined infinity ward, please dont touch blizzard.

....You Greedy Asshat.

$10 mil per year (2, Funny)

ZirbMonkey (999495) | about 4 years ago | (#32943254)

It only took them 10 years to release. If they'd released it 5 years ago, it would have only cost a fraction of that.

Re:$10 mil per year (2, Funny)

waambulance (1766146) | about 4 years ago | (#32943314)

if they had added (n total developers) * (years in development) developers, they could have released it in a year... ah well. kotick can be clueless sometimes... -0.

Adding more developers only makes a project later. (4, Interesting)

SexyKellyOsbourne (606860) | about 4 years ago | (#32943566)

You cannot add developers to a project and make it release sooner, no more than 9 women can make a baby in one month.

Blizzard knows this, and thus they take their time. A lot of time they spend on their core values (gameplay first, commit to quality, embrace your inner geek, etc) requires constant communication, and adding people makes this worse -- communication channels increase geometrically as people are added to a project.

For example, doubling the number of people on a team will quadruple the number of people who can talk to each other, making it much more difficult to synchronize efforts consistently. 50 developers will have 50 * (50 – 1) / 2 = 1225 channels of communication.

Not to mention that new employees require significant training, or else they'll introduce significant amount of bugs and flaws into a program or other creative effort. You can actually end up worse than you started if you have more bugs, gameplay issues, inconsistent storylines, and so forth to fix at the end of the day than the beginning.

This is called Brooks' Law, and was detailed in 1975 by Fred Brooks in the book 'The Mythical Man Month'. Wikipedia article is here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooks's_law [wikipedia.org]

Re:$10 mil per year (1)

njen (859685) | about 4 years ago | (#32943316)

Can't tell if you are being funny or not, so if you are, allow me to *whoosh* myself first.

Otherwise, costs would not have been spread evenly over the years, but more likely ramping up exponentially. So the fist few years of development might have cost $1m each, where the last year would have taken the brunt of the costs. The last few years would probably include buying loads of new servers, a herd of people to set them up and maintain them, marketing and more.

Oh, and don't forget the stupidly high exec salaries, of which there would be a high number of on a project like this.

Re:$10 mil per year (5, Funny)

waambulance (1766146) | about 4 years ago | (#32943448)

i really dont understand why they used c++, when faster development platforms are available. python is perfectly adequate. so is AS3. look at farmville. kotick should listen up considering zynga just got bought by the google. mandating c++ is just a charity-case for old, bearded programmers who couldnt program their way out of an eclipse IDE. ah well. we cant all be smart. some have to drive on by with their gcc and gdb lunchpails in the special bus...

Re:$10 mil per year (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943496)

You're talking about a field where they'll write in assembly, and you think a scripting language like python can match a compiled binary? Are you retarded?

Re:$10 mil per year (1)

EvanED (569694) | about 4 years ago | (#32943584)

I am a full proponent of using something other than C or C++ for almost all development -- there are other languages that are comparable in terms of speed and are much "nicer" to develop in. That said... Python is emphatically not one of them. Comparison to Farmville? Someone needs to be hit by a cluebat.

Re:$10 mil per year (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943400)

I was wondering if that 100 million dollar expenditure is based on real dollars [wikipedia.org] or accounting dollars [wikipedia.org] .

Or if they derived that value from the RIAA formula for valuating songs lost to piracy, or maybe it's just for tax write-off purposes.

UgLyPuNk? Gamepron? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943264)

I've never heard of such reliable sources existing here before.

Isn't that a player of games made with $0 budget?

Expenses (1, Flamebait)

binkzz (779594) | about 4 years ago | (#32943282)

Most of that money will have gone into graphics and marketing.

No wonder large companies have to create a top 10 game in order to get their investment back!

If they would settle for 20% less impressive graphics, I bet they'd save more than 50% on the bills. And then they wouldn't have to be so scared about piracy, either.

Re:Expenses (1)

icegreentea (974342) | about 4 years ago | (#32943340)

Blizzard usually doesn't go for the latest and greatest graphics. If you look at screenshots of SC2, it's using graphics that are technically a few years old. As in a video card from 06 could render it with no problem.

Whatever money blizzards dumps into their graphics, its into the art, not into trying to cram more polygons on screen.

Re:Expenses (1)

binkzz (779594) | about 4 years ago | (#32943504)

Alright. But then I'm curious how the $100M is divided up.

Re:Expenses (2, Funny)

TheLink (130905) | about 4 years ago | (#32943554)

Hookers, blow and blackjack?

I guess there was some pizza and mountain dew too.

Re:Expenses (1)

Surt (22457) | about 4 years ago | (#32943694)

50% to salaries for a very large team (dev, artists, qa). About 20-25% for marketing. 10% or so for hardware (for battlenet around the world). 5% for pro voice actors. 10% management.

Re:Expenses (1)

Vaphell (1489021) | about 4 years ago | (#32943716)

reportedly this 100M is without marketing, only pure development

and there was an article some time ago here on slashdot, that EA spends up to 75% of total game budget on marketing.

Re:Expenses (1)

Rick Zeman (15628) | about 4 years ago | (#32943752)

50% to salaries for a very large team (dev, artists, qa). About 20-25% for marketing. 10% or so for hardware (for battlenet around the world). 5% for pro voice actors. 10% management.

+ overhead (offices, phones, internet, 'infrastructure, etc)....

Re:Expenses (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 4 years ago | (#32943368)

I doubt they are scared about piracy.

Both the Starcraft and Warcraft universes most likely run in the "it prints money!"-league.

Re:Expenses (1)

noodler (724788) | about 4 years ago | (#32943532)

I've been in the beta and there is nowhere near $100.000.000 worth of graphics there.
And i haven't seen much marketing going on, unless you consider the beta to be a marketing campaign.

I think they invested most of the money into setting up the server side competitive stuffs.

Awesome (0, Redundant)

Hadery (1858536) | about 4 years ago | (#32943298)

Starcraft is awesome!!!!

Pillars (2, Interesting)

Pranadevil2k (687232) | about 4 years ago | (#32943326)

Let's see...
Activision's seven pillars are most likely:
World of Warcraft
Unnamed Blizzard MMORPG
Diablo
StarCraft
Guitar/Band Hero
Call of Duty .... And what else?

They only have a few other franchises to work with.. the LEGO game series, Cabela's hunting games (lol), and Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
As far as I know their contract with Marvel is over, so they might not be able to produce another M:UA game.
None of these remaining franchises seem like 1 billion dollar winners, so what does that leave for the seventh pillar?

Re:Pillars (1)

mistashizzle (1341785) | about 4 years ago | (#32943406)

RTFA? The last remaining pillar is Bungies new unannounced IP

Re:Pillars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943408)

Tony Hawk, obviously.

It's Lego (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | about 4 years ago | (#32943412)

Actually I think it is the Lego series, those are mega sellers and Activision is miking them to death, just like every other one of their non-Blizzard originated franchises.

Re:Pillars (5, Informative)

alexhs (877055) | about 4 years ago | (#32943428)

Well, if you RTFA...

1. Starcraft
2. WoW
3. Diablo
4. Blizzard's "secret new MMO"
5. Bungie‘s unnannounced new IP <- You missed that one
6. Guitar Hero
7. Call of Duty

Re:Pillars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943490)

I'm old and dense, so please help me: does 'IP' refer to 'intellectual property', or is it some game-specific acronym?

Re:Pillars (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 4 years ago | (#32943640)

I'm old and dense, so please help me: does 'IP' refer to 'intellectual property', or is it some game-specific acronym?

Perhaps he meant IPO?

Re:Pillars (1)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | about 4 years ago | (#32943712)

Yes, intellectual property. More specifically, "new IP" means a new setting/canon/gameplay/world/etc. For example, all Metroid games are Metroid IP (old 2D + newer 3D both), all Warcraft games are Warcraft IP, Mario games are Mario IP, etc. "Bungie's new IP" means a project by Bungie that isn't part of any project they've done yet--it's not a continuation of Halo, for example.

Re:Pillars (1)

HairyNevus (992803) | about 4 years ago | (#32943430)

FTFA: Blizzard also control three of the other remaining six pillars, with World of Warcraft and Diablo each getting a spot, as well as their secret new MMO project. Bungie's unnannounced new IP is also up there, with nobody surprised when Guitar Hero and Call of Duty take out the last two.

you seem to have gotten all but the bungie IP thing

Re:Pillars (3, Informative)

OzPeter (195038) | about 4 years ago | (#32943434)

None of these remaining franchises seem like 1 billion dollar winners, so what does that leave for the seventh pillar?

Well its got to be one of:

  • Pride
  • Envy
  • Gluttony
  • Lust
  • Anger
  • Greed
  • Sloth

Given that its a gaming company, I'd be going with Greed

Re:Pillars (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#32943474)

Bobby Kotick himself.

Hey, his quote in TFS doesn't appear to say that all pillars must be games.

Re:Pillars (1)

Pherlin (1131333) | about 4 years ago | (#32943634)

Uhh, To the best of my knowledge none of the successful Lego Games haven't been published by Activision.

Lego Star Wars and Indy were published by LucasArts.
Lego Harry Potter was published by a division of Warner.

On the other hand, a possibility for the 7th Pillar would be whatever Bungie has in the works...

Price Tag (1)

sealfoss (962185) | about 4 years ago | (#32943374)

I don't think they really care too much about the $100 million. They already have a devoted fan base, and they're tying the game to online play. Both of the factors will turn the cracked/paid ratio to their side. And besides, they make something like $1.2 BILLION (with a B) a year off of WoW alone. They wipe their asses with $100 Million. If you really want something to talk about, how about Diablo III looking like some fucking cartoon. Whoever made that decision really needs to go die in a fire.

art assets (1)

waambulance (1766146) | about 4 years ago | (#32943416)

rumor has it blizzard hired william steig and charles schultz to do the concept art...

Re:art assets (1)

h4nk (1236654) | about 4 years ago | (#32943686)

ha! Good one! Seriously though, their weakest spot is their 3D modeling and interface design. The concept art for Wrath was pretty cool, so I don't blame the artists. I haven't seen any SC art.

100/3? (1)

Jerrei (1515395) | about 4 years ago | (#32943420)

"On the surface investing so much into a PC title seems like an odd move"

I assume they mean $100 million for the entire series (Wings of Liberty, Legacy of the Void, Heart of the Swarm), making it ~33 per game? After all, they're selling them at full price, and mentioned several times that each installment could stand on it's own. Seeing as they're doing this to brag, it seems odd they wouldn't mention that it was just Wings of Liberty if that was the case.

Re:100/3? (1)

nu1x (992092) | about 4 years ago | (#32943642)

Having the engine already developed should significantly cut spending for the sequels.

Not so great (2, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 4 years ago | (#32943426)

I was in the beta program, and I've got to say I didn't enjoy the game nearly as much as I did the original StarCraft. It's possible that I'm just outgrowing that kind of game, but I really just wasn't enjoying the gameplay so much.

Re:Not so great (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943580)

I found the gameplay to be great, but the attitudes of Battle.net players really turned me off. This is essentially the same reason I stopped playing WoW. The Blizzard gaming community as a whole may be large, but it is also comprised of many people with poor sportsmanship and overall poor attitude. I don't think any RealID forum plans (which have been rolled back) would have helped very much. Spoiled teenagers and socially maladjusted adults generally don't care about consequences.

The final straw in SC2 beta for me was basically as I was winning a match in 2v2. My opponent started going off on me, basically hurling extreme insults and some threats my way as I was destroying his base. I just stopped playing because this is basically the type of "gamer" that Blizzard seems to be catering to nowadays.

menu (2, Interesting)

shipbrick (929823) | about 4 years ago | (#32943450)

Wow for $100 million dollars you think they could design a freaking menu interface. The beta was absolutely terrible, not intuitive at all and you end up with like 3 chat windows for talking with one person. I hope it was 100% remade before launch with some of that 100 million. The gameplay is ok, it feels like Starcraft but with better graphics. So if you are feeling nostalgic, you can drop $60 or just buy an old used copy for probably $5. I'll probably still buy it just to play occasionally online with friends though...

Re:menu (3, Informative)

Vaphell (1489021) | about 4 years ago | (#32943762)

pretty much unanimously community thinks that bnet 2.0 is a hardcore fail, it doesn't offer features available 10 years ago in classic battle.net, like convenient means of communication between players or ability to play across region borders. What people get now looks like flash ridden XBoxLive imitation, infested with Facebook and people say you can actually feel lonely there with thousands of players. But hey, you can farm achievements!

That's what you get when your services are shaped primarily by Activision HQ and deals with Facebook, not by the desires of customers.

Nothing to see here, move along (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943520)

Back when chess was invented, it cost 100 stones to develop (for the pieces and the game board).

Just in case you were wondering why... (1, Informative)

OwP_Fabricated (717195) | about 4 years ago | (#32943648)

...you're gonna have to buy this game 3 times.

You're a sucker if you buy SC2. Go play something else. Go get League of Legends or something. Don't encourage this shit where you pay $50-60 a pop 2-3 times just to get an entire game.

Re:Just in case you were wondering why... (1)

h4nk (1236654) | about 4 years ago | (#32943742)

I know they are apples and oranges, but Eve is pretty damn killer.

Wow, $100000000 (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | about 4 years ago | (#32943776)

And they still don't support Linux.

Yeah, yeah, I know, small market share, not enough interest, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah, ad infintitum, ad nausium.
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