China’s ChinaJoy 2009 event on July 23rd was among the lucky few to have been chosen by Blizzard to host a public presentation as well as to make openly available the currently playable version of StarCraft 2. Blizzard’s participation in this event was scheduled to predate the massively successful presentation on the following day in South Korea.
Unfortunately, StarCraft 2 was banned from public play due to a recent ruling by China’s State Bureau Of Culture, which declared that “Starcraft 2 is much too bloody, which will severely affect the mental as well as physical health of adolescents” (translation courtesy of TeamLiquid). The decision draws from a regulatory note, released on July 1st, 2009, which stated that
Any activity related to foreign games, including their showing, demonstrating, trading and marketing promotion, shall also abide by the censorship laws aiming at imported online games and shall be subject to censorship and approval by the State Administration of News and Press. All promoters, sponsors, and companies related shall held their respective legal responsibilities.
The StarCraft 2 South Korean E-Stars Seoul 2009 event, however, was a great success, and some media has been released both officially and by fans. You can find the official extensive media gallery here.
Two decent-quality gameplay videos have been released during the event, showing a short and intensive Protoss vs. Terran match:
The video is another example of just how fast paced and merciless StarCraft 2 multiplayer is designed to be, as mentioned repeatedly by the design team in various interviews. One on one games are not supposed to last more than 20 minutes (if that!), as the game provides players with sufficient tools to exploit the opponent’s mistakes and leverage them, along with the player’s own skills, into quick victories.
While fans and gamers around the world marvel at every released detail, battle report or gameplay video, the stock market is not as patient and forgiving towards Blizzard’s developmental practices, and analysts blame the recent stock dive on the realization that StarCraft 2 will not be coming out in 2009.
Now, there is a growing concern that an even bigger game — “StarCraft 2” — may be pushed out of this year, due to development delays.
“The beta testing for ‘StarCraft’ hasn’t started yet. If it starts in August and takes 5-6 months, then launching the game this year is next to impossible,” said Jess Lubert, video game analyst with Brean Murray.
While it doesn’t take a genius mutant ninja analyst to figure out that the StarCraft 2 beta is highly unlikely to be over by the end of 2009, it does take some history knowledge to understand that virtually all of Blizzard’s titles end up being played for many years, each serving as a benchmark and a poster child for their respective niche; that is to say, there is no doubt that when it is released, it will generate considerable revenue for Activision-Blizzard.Google+
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