The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Activision-Blizzard’s soon to be released, mega-blockbuster Starcraft II cost in the neighborhood of $100 million dollars to make.
This makes Starcraft II debatably the most expensive game production in history, with its only rival being Grand Theft Auto IV, which was reported to have also cost $100 million. While GTA IV went on to sell 14.5 million units globally, not all games with extravagant budgets break even. According to The Escapist, the top five most expensive games are:
- Starcraft II – $100 million
- Grand Theft Auto IV – $100 million
- Gran Turismo 5 – $80 million
- Shenmue - $70 million
- Too Human – $60 million
As you can see, there are some real clunkers in there. Sega’s Shenmue, the Waterworld of video games, cost $70 million to make, but only sold 1.2 million units. Even more disastrous was Too Human, whose development cost $60 million dollars across the Playstation 1, Gamecube and XBox 360. When it was finally released after almost a decade Too Human sold less than 700,000 units. The jury is still out on the $80 million dollar Gran Turismo 5.
$100 mil is a lot of green, but it is undoubtedly money well spent for Activision-Blizzard. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty will generate that much in sales in its first month, and, if past is prologue, the game will go on to earn for the next decade. $100 million is a small figure when compared with the potential global value of the Starcraft brand. At a meeting of analysts last month Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick estimated the Starcraft would provide $500 million and $1 billion in operating profit over its lifespan.
EDIT: Apparently those rookie journalists over at the Wall Street Journal made some errors in their story. Like, its subject. It was World of Warcraft that cost $100 million, not Starcraft II. Find WSJ’s correction below:
Activision Blizzard Inc. hasn’t disclosed development costs for its StarCraft II videogame. A July 16 Technology article about the StarCraft sequel incorrectly said the company spent more than $100 million to develop the game; that figure referred to its World of Warcraft game.
And they say you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet! No wonder newspapers are dropping like zerglings.