Starcraft II closed beta begins this month

Long-awaited multiplayer testing phase for Blizzard's heavily anticipated sci-fi RTS slated to begin in the next few weeks, mid-2010 launch still on track.

In August, Blizzard Entertainment disappointed gamers around the globe by announcing that Starcraft II had been delayed to the first half of 2010. One crucial step holding up that release, however, has been a beta-testing phase for the game's heavily hyped multiplayer component. And with weeks ticking by into 2010, Blizzard fans have been left wondering when the developer would make good on its call for tester applications, first issued in May 2009.

Starcraft II's closed beta is starting soon.

As part of Activision's year-end earnings report today, Blizzard president Mike Morhaime has now answered that question, saying that the closed beta test for Starcraft II will begin later this month. Morhaime also affirmed that the sci-fi real-time strategy title is "still tracking toward our goal of a mid-2010 release."

Starcraft II's delay into 2010 was attributed to holdups with Blizzard's relaunch of the online gaming service. As detailed by vice president of game design Rob Pardo during last year's BlizzCon, the new will offer gamers a variety of features, including persistent player profiles across all of Blizzard's games. The overhauled gaming platform will also feature improved matchmaking services and enhanced competitive gaming functionality.

Undoubtedly to promote the launch of Starcraft II's closed beta phase, Blizzard this week released a promotional video featuring project director Greg Canessa. For more on Starcraft II itself, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

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