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.
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.

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