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Blizzard Combines  StarCraft II  And  WoW  Pricing In Korea, Ponders Free  WoW

Blizzard Combines StarCraft II And WoW Pricing In Korea, Ponders Free WoW

June 30, 2010 | By Chris Remo

June 30, 2010 | By Chris Remo
More: Console/PC

Blizzard is thinking hard about nontraditional business models.

In South Korea, the company plans to offer both StarCraft II and World of Warcraft under a combined subscription-based payment plan, while World of Warcraft's current lead designer has publicly pondered the still-theoretical notion of dropping the MMO's monthly fee at some point in the future.

During a recent press event in Seoul, Blizzard said that Korean World of Warcraft subscribers would have free access to StarCraft II as long as their WoW subscriptions are active. The company will offer this dual-game pass for 9,990 won (about $8) a month, or 2,000 won (about $1.65) for a day. The game will still be offered as a standalone no-subscription box as well, as in the West.

Blizzard likely instituted the shared subscription model to drive Korean interest in World of Warcraft more than in StarCraft II.

While WoW is the company's biggest game worldwide, the StarCraft series holds that honor in South Korea, and Blizzard may be hoping that players who are already sold on StarCraft II will take advantage of this deal to try out the company's MMO.

And in the longer term, Blizzard says it is open to experimenting with World of Warcraft's subscription model or even dropping it as a mandatory payment plan, as fellow MMO developer Turbine has done with its Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online.

"At some point, it may not make sense for us to have a subscription fee," said lead designer Tom Chilton in a PC Gamer interview.

Chilton said that such a drastic move could arise in the future as a response to external or even internal competition in the MMO space; Blizzard is known to be developing another massively multiplayer game, although no details on its setting or gameplay have been released.

"If another game comes along and blows us away it may not make sense for us to have a subscription fee," he said, "or even further down the line, when we have another MMO out."

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