Blizzard on Thursday revealed a StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty pricing model that it hopes will make the game more appealing to gamers in emerging markets such as Mexico, Argentina and Chile.
Blizzard is offering fully localized versions of the PC real-time strategy game for the South American countries for a suggested retail price of around $25-$30USD. That's about half of what it costs for the standard U.S. version, which Blizzard said would cost $59.99.
The catch is that gamers in emerging markets who pay for the cheaper version of the game can only play StarCraft II single and multiplayer for six months, through Blizzard's revamped Battle.net online platform.
After that six months, players that opted for the cheaper version of the game will have the option to pay additional 30- or 60-day subscription fees to play the game. Blizzard said it will announce specifics on recurring fees at a later date.
Players in emerging markets will still have the option to buy an unlimited-play StarCraft II by buying and downloading the game directly from Blizzard for around the standard $59.99USD.
Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime explained that the subscription route is just another pricing option for gamers in emerging markets. "One of our design goals for StarCraft II was to make it accessible to a wide range of players, from beginners to veterans," he said.
"The same is true with regard to our pricing options -- we want to make sure players have the flexibility to experience the game according to their own preferences and play style," Morhaime added.
Russian-language reports also say that Russia will adopt the subscription pricing option.
Emerging markets are also known for high rates of piracy, and it's possible that Activision Blizzard took that into account when offering lower pricing options for StarCraft II.
The only announced pricing for StarCraft II in the U.S. is $59.99 for an unlimited standard version of the game, or $99.99 for the collector's edition.