Fans of StarCraft 2 are still waiting for the game’s first expansion, which is slated for release in 2013. However, just because Heart of the Swarm is still months away doesn’t mean there isn’t any surprising news coming from the game’s developers. This week, Blizzard revealed that it’s considering options to bring the StarCraft 2 multiplayer experience to gamers everywhere as a free-to-play entity.
A question about the StarCraft series possibly going free-to-play was asked during a panel at the Valencia eSports Congress, an eSports convention currently being held in Spain. That question was answered by none other than Dustin Browder, the lead designer for StarCraft 2 – and he wasn’t shy about admitting that Blizzard is seriously considering the option.
Browder stated that Blizzard is currently “looking at free to play as an option for the multiplayer,” which would draw even more players into what is already a successful eSports scene and net Blizzard an abundant amount of competitive players. In comparison to other popular eSports titles, StarCraft 2 is the only one with a standalone, full-package price tag (DOTA 2 and League of Legends having a microtransaction history, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive having a very low price tag).
Browder revealed that Blizzard is unsure whether a monetization system would work if StarCraft 2’s multiplayer went free-to-play, as the game is currently balanced on the fact that everyone has the same units and buildings available for each race.
“We don’t know how we would monetise it. While it might be good fun for me to play against someone with only half the units available to them, that’s not going to be an enjoyable experience for them.”
It’s easy to see that a game like StarCraft 2 wasn’t built to have a monetizing system within it, and fans aren’t entirely sure what changes such a system might bring to the online scene. Blizzard is well-known for taking its time to ensure a properly balanced game, so if this free-to-play system was ever put into place, it’d likely not be for quite some time – probably well after the StarCraft 2 trilogy is completed.
If you still haven’t played the game, you can read our StarCraft 2 review here.
What do you think, Ranters? Is it a good idea for Blizzard to open the floodgates of a free-to-play style to the online StarCraft 2 scene? How do you think a transaction-based system would develop?
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