Blizzard announced StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
's July 27 launch date yesterday
, putting an end to some timing uncertainty that had weighed on publisher Activision's shares. And when the game hits, says Cowen group analyst Doug Creutz, it could sell about 5 million units globally in its first year.
"The original StarCraft
has sold roughly 10 million units worldwide since its launch 10 years ago," Creutz. points out. "We believe the Chinese online launch with distribution partner NetEase will most likely be in 2011."
The initial launch includes major retail territories simultaneously, like North America, Europe, and South Korea -- the latter plays home to some of the game's fervent fans, many of whom still participate in competitive StarCraft
e-sports a decade later.
Set after the events of StarCraft: Brood War
, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
features a 29-mission solo campaign, new and updated units, new characters, and more.
It also features online play through a new version of Blizzard's gaming service Battle.net with new features like voice communication, cloud-file storage, leagues and ladders, achievements, stat-tracking, and more.
The company plans to release two expansion packs, Heart of the Swarm
and Legacy of the Void
, which will focus on the franchise's Zerg and Protoss races respectively. Wings of Liberty
follows the series's Terran race, specifically the exploits of "marshal-turned-rebel-leader Jim Raynor".