WSJ retracts $100 million Starcraft II budget claims

[UPDATE] Leading financial daily yanks report that Blizzard spent a not-small fortune developing sequel to popular sci-fi RTS, due out next week.

[UPDATE] Since this article was published, the Wall Street Journal has retracted its article, saying that the $100 million budget estimate was, in fact, for World of Warcraft not Starcraft II. GameSpot regrets repeating the error. The original, erroneous story is below for reference.

The original Starcraft was released some 12 years ago and has become one of the most popular PC titles ever, selling over 11 million units to date. The first entry in the game's sequel, following years of fan anticipation, arrives in two weeks bearing an unprecedented budget.

The $100 million man.

According to the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Activision Blizzard has spent over $100 million on the three-part sequel to the science-fiction real-time strategy game, which kicks off with Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty on July 27.

The report stated the $100 million was purely development price and made no mention of marketing expenditures. That lofty figure well exceeds Gran Turismo 5's $60 million development cost, one of the most expensive video games to date.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has previously labeled the Starcraft franchise as one of the company's seven "pillars of opportunity." Kotick said each pillar has the potential to reap between $500 million and $1 billion of operating profit for the publisher throughout its life. The other pillars are Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, World of Warcraft, Diablo, new Blizzard MMOG, and Bungie's new intellectual property.

Kotick wasn't the only Activision Blizzard executive speaking about the game though. Blizzard president Mike Morhaime told the paper that the publisher should be able to migrate some of its World of Warcraft subscribers to Starcraft II.

"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," Morhaime said.

For more on the game, check out GameSpot's most recent preview.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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623 comments
neoduke
neoduke

Hmm, I'm confused now... since I read quite a long time ago from multiple reliable sources that WoW had a budget of 40 mil... So wtf is this 100 mil figure coming from? Do they mean ALL the WoW titles together? Thus WoW (40 mil) plus all the expansions to the date of the article. Or do they mean the WoW movie? I am curious though what the budget of SC2 is, since it's obviously less than 100 mil

suprsolider
suprsolider

Platfomers aren't popular. Hmm, funny, so games like Super mario Galaxy and New Super Mario Bros should have bombed. So should have Mega Man 9 and 10, Ratchet and Clank among other. Oh wait they didn't.

Sindri0x
Sindri0x

@ FarmFreshDX Didn't you notice the article said Starcraft did not cost $100 million?? That it was a mistake on the part of these journalists? That's why I asked, did it still cost more than GT5 in your opinion? For all we know, it could have cost more or less than Gran Turismo 5.....which is why I wanted the opinions of other people. Based on my own opinion though, I honestly can't tell which game would have cost more out of the two....leaning towards GT5 though.

PC4Me
PC4Me

@ i am the leg, lol- that's not a problem, I'm a patient person.

key1001
key1001

"pillars of opportunity."? I swear, ever since those money grabbing corporates took over (with their new boss Mr. Kotick) it's been making the developers make their dreams come true to making really good games, but at the same time, make the price higher with the cruel marketing strategy (separate expansion packs for each campaign? you gotta be kidding me!) as its popularity is really high. So, after this article, am I supposed to understand why the game will be released in 3 different segments with the price of $59.99?

Mercenary-X
Mercenary-X

@Ladiesman17 I didn't say they don't use PC technology. I said that you don't need to know anything about the consoles' specs in determining what games to buy. You have fun buying parts for your computer to keep up with games. I'll have fun just buying the games for my console until a new one comes out, and even then I'll probably wait.

FarmFreshDX
FarmFreshDX

@Sindri0x The article says GT5 cost $60 Million. So Starcraft II is almost twice as expensive.

Sindri0x
Sindri0x

When I thought about it, I didn't really think Starcraft II should have cost $100 million......was still pretty interesting though. Big question I want to ask though, was it still anywhere near as expensive as Gran Turismo 5?

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

@Mercenary-X of course! current console(s) using PC technology! why? because console(s) using RAM, GPU, CASE, FAN, CPU, mobo, the only difference is!! they using different data language (OS) ;) you use this part to compare the capacity of each technology, between PS3, 360 & PC!! every technology also has limited lifespan!! like other tech. such as mobile phones, LCD, etc. they always evolve, not stagnant like a console. when I do upgrade, I do not buy a new chassis and a new fan, (or 100% whole brand new "cough" "console") :D with no support backward compatibility :( / 10$ more expensive for most PC games!! I'm not stupid buyer!! :D I'm using my money for more specific! particular part that I consider important such! GPU/RAM, I doN't speak like I'm superior, but the fact IS Console gamers always screwing" PC users. so STFU!! like u know everything...

PodXCOM
PodXCOM

@Vadamee There is a difference between movies and games. Movies render everything the hard way. Games do not. Movies render everything at 4320p. Games only render 1080p, at best. Movies uses billions, if not millions, of polygons in their render. The humans in Crysis only needed 10,000 polygons. Gran Turismo 5 only uses 200,000 polygons for each car.

PodXCOM
PodXCOM

@apsalar Super thanks for the giant reply. I love reading big replys. But replying back to them is the hard part. (I'm just so lazy) :D So, I'll ask you: do you want me to reply back or stop right here? Because I still have a lot of things I can talk about, and lots more tech videos I want to show. But I need to reply back on one thing: "Dont worry your wish of mindblowing graphics/physics/gameplay would come true one day..." I don't know about that. What about the Wii? It had 5 years to improve the graphics, and it couldn't even run games on the first Xbox. How the heck does that happen? And what about PC games? Only Total War and StarCraft 2 are the only ones left. All the others have gone for consoles. What happens if the PS4 or Xbox 3 has less graphics power then hoped? What if Sony & MS go for motion controls instead? The motion controls can cost up to $150 for Sony & MS; why would they use that for better graphics If they think people don't want better graphics? Who would care for new graphics cards if the old ones can play PS4 games? I guess we'll have to wait and see....

Mercenary-X
Mercenary-X

@Ladiesman17 How do you figure PS3 and 360 is PC gaming? You don't need to know how much RAM your console has or how strong the CPU is. All you need to know is that the game you bought is for the console you have. That's it. Maybe you need to know that you have enough hard drive space if you're doing an installation, that's the extent of it. PC gaming has too wide a range of PC specs. I stopped worrying about having a "monster rig" about five years ago. I play games on my 360 now. The only PC game I plan on buying anytime soon is Diablo III. Oh, and stop acting all high and mighty. Just thought I should say that.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

@Ratchet_Fan8 against piracy is a futile thing, PS2 most widely pirated, same as 360, you talk as if only on a PC that happens piracy, but when the hijacking occurred on the console, you pretend not to know. people like you are biased, and act like you know everything!! and again... why console users always scraping PC Games!! just mind your own business!!leave us alone!! just go play LittleBigPlanet & Viva Pinata on your own platform! :D

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

thisisreallybor
thisisreallybor

@azahmed 1)Quit pretending like lag is your problem, unless you're still on 56k modem. You can play FPSs competitively on cable! how could 30 ms affect an RTS when it hardly affects an FPS? BNET does not limit you if you both own the game. If you can contradict the last sentence, i'll buy your friend a copy of SCII for you both to play 2) Although the expansion prices are unconfirmed, most talk indicates that the following expansions will not be full priced games. PM me for evidence, or research this yourself The problem is that your opinion is founded on the restriction of no LAN, rather than the services of battle.net. No LAN is not a feature that they had then took out, it's just a feature they never added Taking out LAN adds 30ms of ping time. But overall if 2 people own copies of the game and log on to battle.net, the same game can be achieved, with options like adding a friend from the other side of the world to play. Or playing a ranked match. Or doing the same PvComputers. The truth is - no LAN will reduce pirating, which will increase profits for blizzard, which will increase blizzards opportunities to fund great games.

apsalar
apsalar

@PodXCOM Hey. lol its ok. "But if we try to slow the speed of technology for graphics & physics, then it could be really, REALLY bad, for all of us." yeah it would be unfortunate. But I dont think we should worry about controling stuff which probably cant be controlled. Technology will advance for many generations to come...I wrote about that just because I was trying to find a way to write/show that its understandable why game development costs are going up and would continue to go up. ps this has been 1 hell of a long reply lol

apsalar
apsalar

Great picture comparison...And for the last half an hour have been trying to find a short answer to your comparison between the dragon vs Guardian. And I cant find one. So hopefully this may help a bit. Dragon - 165m budget. Probably 120million was on the actual film, take away voice acting(this is just a guess). Its a movie not a game. It woudl take time for animators to create every character, scene and then to connect them together, plus to make it all work. Lots of time... Maybe not amaizing graphics but hey its a film and most animated films look like this anyway. Here there is no need to wow audiance by graphics.its probably about wowing them with good enough visuals and a greater story and a film which connects to its viewers. My girlfriend cant stop talking about Up. And visually I cant distinquish much difference between them or Toy Story 3. Yet she was really inspired by the story and the characters. Furthermore sometimes the studio would try to speed up development (eg like Spiderman 2) which would increase the overall costs.

apsalar
apsalar

Last Guardian - Damn that game looks amaizing.Does it look better than Dragon?Yeah I think so too... Yet its a game. Different sector of the entertainment industry. Different needs. And probably this game would push the PS3 to show what it can do. Yet this game is more artistic, it feels like it would be like ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. Very unique gaming experiance. (Not sure about this) but it seems like the the huge animal friend has more detail given to him compared to the environment. (not saying that the environment is not detailed, it is but relatively less compared to the animal. ...Maybe i am just imagining things. Interesting videos. Yet for the first one about the lighting, the description said its an 8 core CPU. It seems like the program splits the calculations around for all of the cores to help out plus the GPU. Also it was only 15 fps. Thats quite low for a gaming prespective. Minnimum 30 fps for smooth gameplay where the eye cant tell the difference in frames. However its really interesting to see how these technologies evolve over time.I would say very exciting times are waiting for us :D. However it may take for CGI+ graphics maybe 1 more generation of consoles before its feasable. For example it took 45 hours to render 1 Frame of Avatar. (or something else ridiculus as that) Now there are 20 plus frames in a second. Consider the power of the CPU plus GPU which could do this in real time.Thats one hell of a combination to be able to do that.

apsalar
apsalar

I dont think its possible to degrade the future consoles and PC hardware. Things will get more complex and powerful if we continue following the same trend as the last 20 or so years and it would be hard not to. look at Moore's Law and RAM. But hey thats good and bad like everything else in life. Some people would be againts it, others would welcome it like everything else in life. Dont worry your wish of mindblowing graphics/physics/gameplay would come true one day...maybe 10 years? maybe less..That would be some really cool looking games. ps. I wouldnt say developers are being lazy when developing for Wii or any other console by not pushing the available system to max. Maybe they are doing it, yet graphics are restricted by what the hardware can do. I dont know...I would like to believe that developers love their work and care for their projects even thought that is probably more an idea in my brain then reality. The Wii was never about the next gen amaizing graphics. Its about accessibility and great gameplay. Thats what Nintendo are good at (plus milking really well their IPS). ps the supposed budget for Halo MMO was $90 million. Still I wouldnt be supprised if overall all 3 games of SC2 cost to develop more than 140million when they are all released. Even a bit more than that. Damn this turned out really long lol.

Vadamee
Vadamee

@PodXCOM: We are nowhere near the level of something like Clash of the Titans, much less Avatar.

PodXCOM
PodXCOM

@apsalar (Sorry for being late) "Better graphics+physics is all good, yet game development costs will get higher as games become more complex." But if we try to slow the speed of technology for graphics & physics, then it could be really, REALLY bad, for all of us. In other words: Wii. Every bad thing that can be said, has already been said about it, so I'm not going to even try. And what about the uncanny valley for CGI movies? Hollywood is so afraid of it, that the CGI is suffering because of it. Don't believe me? Just look at this $165,000,000 movie: http://maoshouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/how_to_train_your_dragon_001.jpg Now look at this PS3 game: http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs48/f/2009/159/b/9/The_Last_Guardian_wallpaper_by_mad_dragon249.jpg How the F*** does that happen? How does a movie with all the CG Power in the world look cheaper then something for a console? I'll tell you how: Will Power. If someone feels like they don't have to push anything to the limit, then they'll just get lazy. Development costs will get higher, but what is the alternative? To become like the Wii? If we go down that road, we may never be able to turn back. Besides, we are so close to having CGI-like graphics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GckOkpeJ3BY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6MJ-dIIUIA

Ratchet_Fan8
Ratchet_Fan8

damn...all of that money could of being donated to charities :( instead,its a video game,and whats worse,its on PC,which means pirates gonna pirate blehhh atleast its a great game

apsalar
apsalar

From reading comments around. Amaizned at some negative comments. Yeah the game is nothing "new". But then again. What did you expect? Its a strategy game. Ie build + gather army and fight. Yeah some new Strategy Games have bought some great innovation in the genre eg Warhammer Dawn of War and The Supreme Commander series (to an extent). Developers probably had 2 options. Do the game differently from the original formula or stay as close as possible but do some things differently. Which one would you choose? Would you give completly new experiance to your loyal fans or something that stays close to the original yet fans would be able to appriciate the new changes. Honestly, the main draw and the most important one for me is the story. But I appriciate that straight away I would be able to pick the game up and figure things out as I go.

suprsolider
suprsolider

Ladiesman17, Not all genres were started on the PC. Platformers weren't common on the PC but on consoles. I prefer consoles, I like the fact I can stick the disk in the console and there I go. I don't have to worry about not having enough ram,graphics cards and a bunch of other crap that I don't care about. I HATE gaming on a PC, hated it as a kid and hate it even more now. So god damn what, graphics are better, WHO CARE'S, The gameplay matter not how pretty the game looks. I have played NES games that are better than Starcraft so this game is nothing special.

suprsolider
suprsolider

Don'r care. The first game was crap, this one will be no better.

GameBeaten
GameBeaten

I'm not really surprised since the game's commercials make it look like a movie.

game_gt3
game_gt3

cs2 looks good but its nothing new or special or something we havent seen before. the story though is the thing i await. for the console pc war- crysis 2 looks worse on console than crysis 1 on pc with medium settings not to speak about high and very high. playing on the console is fun and it costs little play good games. pc cost a lot but on pc u can have max quallity. the only thing i dislike about consoles is that rts games stink at it. thats why sc2 is released for win and mac only.

Khatjal
Khatjal

Kotick...!!! *shakes fist angrily*

NColdhardt
NColdhardt

*Looks at all the arguments in comments* Pfffffffft... Haters be hatin'. :/

CHasingTheSun
CHasingTheSun

@Ladiesman17 I'm not being a hypocrite boy, I just have this ability to -not be- a fanboy, and this other one called being tolerant. ;)

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

CHasingTheSun
CHasingTheSun

@Ladiesman17 It's ironic how you criticize console gamer for "scraping" pc games, yet you lower yourself to such levels by "scraping" console IP's, sad sad. Anyways, I'm pretty sure Starcraft is going to deliver. Blizzard barely disappoints and they won't risk losing such a huge audience of Starcraft fans by making a sub-par game under the level of anticipation by the fans.

apsalar
apsalar

@PodXCOM Wow at the Lagoa Multiphysics. That is amazing. For the next generation consoles to do stuff like that in real time would really be great. However, in the end even if companies have such high tech tools, it would be great if they are used well to fit with the game. Eg Force unleashed 1. The engine is so powerful yet what hurt the game experience was that the engine was a bit too much for the consoles. They could not handle it. Eg frame rate issues. Yet this could be due to not enough optimisation of the engine before creating the content. Who knows...Still I really enjoyed that game, got it for the PC hoping that my i7 920 could handle it (and it did :D). However you think about it, getting the CPU+GPU to work together would take some time. Plus it could get really complicated. Eg How do you optimise the engine to be able to work on 3+ different machines ( the playstation, the xbox, the PC , any other machine). That would require a lot of work to go in the shadows before any actual content is created. There is an interesting presentation from id tech 5 game engine talking about this stuff. Better graphics+physics is all good, yet game development costs will get higher as games become more complex. The increase in cost is reasonable after all yet its a bit annoying. It would become more risky to develop more innovative mainstream games...(Just my speculating opinion...this may not happen) ps. Blizzard only needs to sell around 1.7m units to break even the development costs. And come on lets be honest that would happen only on the first 2/3 days. hehe

RatticusKingus
RatticusKingus

Well, one of the most expensive games ever developed had better darn-well be one of the greatest games ever developed.

williebazerka
williebazerka

I played the beta and I fell in love.Today I seen single player video and to me it looks awesome.I dont care who buys it or doesnt nor do i care about 3 parts,60.00 dollars no lan or any nonsence.I want this game because it will be fun and I will play this for months maybe years.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

I'm very happy to see!!! HOW Console users always scraping PC Games!! LOL :D YEAH!! I understand!! most Consoles IP(s) r crap!! like stupid protagonist Kratos (he's always angry isn't) & boring HALO!! meh ;)

PodXCOM
PodXCOM

@apsalar "But I thought already these two components can work together. Thats what Parallism is all about. right?" Yeah, but I never heard of the graphics cards on the consoles doing any physics or AI work. I don't know anything about programming, so I really don't know. But because the PS3's GPU is weak, I heard the Cell CPU needs to pick up the slack for it. Like with Morphological Anti-aliasing in God of War 3. If that's true, it may be better to have both GPU and CPU working together on physics, then having one on physics, and the other on graphics. Then again, that may cause a bottleneck on the bus/RAM, or something (again, I don't know anything about programming). I'd already saw that video, thank you anyways. ;) But here's some physics demo I hope to see in the PS4, enjoy: http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=MuWuTc5agVA&hd=1 http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=F-uB7Goc1wk

apsalar
apsalar

@PodXCOM "But if we get powerful GPUs and CPUs for the next-generation, then they can work together in giving better physics. " But I thought already these two components can work together. Thats what Parallism is all about. right? Anyway I thought this would be very interesting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtGf0HaW7x4 Probably graphics cards could be used for lots of stuff (even physics) as it is. With CUDA and OpenCL they can be even considered as a second CPU with huge number(depending on the card) of very small cores . If I have a chance would read upon it someday. Its quite interesting hehe. Just remembered: Look up PhysX. Hope that helps a bit ;)

PodXCOM
PodXCOM

@apsalar "You don't need amazing graphics for amazing physics." I disagree. I heard that Graphics cards can be up to 100x more powerful then CPUs. Just have a look at this tech demo at 0:50 in: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlcc9wJAzFQ&playnext_from=TL&videos=wyT9MUm2JJI (If the link is not working, then google "CES 2010 - NVIDIA GF100 Deep Dive Day s3 : Part 7/9" ) My point is todays console games doesn't use GPU for physics, because they can't. Because the consoles' graphics cards doesn't work that way. But if we get powerful GPUs and CPUs for the next-generation, then they can work together in giving better physics. It will all be up to the developers, of course. I'm willing to cut down on some graphics for better physics.

apsalar
apsalar

@PodXCOM There is definitely some correlation between graphics + physics. Still its possible to have the inverse ie really amazing physics but ok graphics. I have been programming a bit but in no way I am an expert about this. Look at Force Unleashed 1/2 there are 3 different physics components working together. As well as Red Faction as you said. You don't need amazing graphics for amazing physics. After all there are 2 different parts of the game loop.... One for rendering (drawing the image) and other for updating collision detection(crudely speaking) Not sure if CPUs are becoming more like GPUs or vice versa anymore....Lots of both. GPUs are great for certain tasks and the CPU for others. eg with CUDA and Adobe 4/5 converting movies takes much less time by utilising the graphics power. In the end its all good hehe. ps the next Red Faction looks really good.

PodXCOM
PodXCOM

@apsalar What I'm hoping for is with better graphics comes better physics. Graphics cards are becoming more like CPUs every year, and I would love to have destructible environments for all games. Just like in Red Faction.

PodXCOM
PodXCOM

@YankeeDan345 (sorry I'm late) Well actually, we may have photorealistic graphics as early as 10, or even 5 years! Just gop to youtube and look up "Image Space Photon Mapping", "Nvidia Design Garage" and "Nvidia Tessellation". Those are all graphics we can do now.

apsalar
apsalar

@xXrebel666Xx Yeah is a shame that there is no LAN. What would be the point of LAN parties now i wonder? hehe I wonder if it sells 2.4+ million units in 2/3 days. Blizzard already have the record for the fastest selling expansion. Probably now they will have it for the fastest selling game on the PC (if they dont already have it). I wonder if thinking it as 2 games would make things simpler when looking at the development cost: eg 50million/50million for single player / multiplayer ?

xXrebel666Xx
xXrebel666Xx

I think the most important thing to take notice of is "Activision Blizzard has spent over $100 million on the THREE-PART SEQUEL to the science-fiction real-time strategy game" which actually means around 35 million is been spent of each title. Still no measley amount, it just pails in comparrison to how much this juggernaut will reap in sales. This also makes the comparrison to GT5 a misleading statement, GT5 is one product, SC2 is branched out into 3. Realistically more is spent on GT5 as it is one stand alone game. Looking forward to it, it's just a shame with all that money spent they managed to ruin the little things like LAN, region locking, no chat, international play etc.

Cuccio123
Cuccio123

July 27: The Day Korea Stood Still.

Slysniper76
Slysniper76

@JHG6784 Shut up if your gonna be complaining. Yeah adds did take up some money it seems. (Realistically) About 1-1.5 years of WoW subscriptions.

JHG6784
JHG6784

IRT apsalar post blizzard use a 100 million dollars to produce gold 'hopefully' government takes the same 100 million and flush it down the toilet

BLaZe462
BLaZe462

Look at all the ads showing up everywhere. Now we know where the money went.