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Monthly Fee for StarCraft 2 Officially Confirmed in Russia

New threads rumoring about a monthly fee for StarCraft 2, posted on the official Battle.net forums, would normally be ignored by regulars and Blizzard posters. This one, announcing a new payment scheme to be deployed in Russia, was not:

To play on Russian servers after some time, included in the cost of the set, Blizzard Entertainment introduces a system of subscription for 1 and 4 months with full access to single and multiplayer StarCraft II on Battle.net.

For once, this piece of information turned out to be correct! Xordiah, Blizzard’s RTS community manager, posted the following clarification in response:

To clarify, this is the Russian pricing model you are talking about. This is a very special case for Russia only. All other European versions will be without a monthly fee.

For the Russian version the monthly fee also only applies after the free months that come with the box are over and are only for the online version of the game. They can then purchase online game time or upgrade to a full EU access, that will grant them the same access as all other European players have without further monthly fees.

What our readers think of a monthly fee

Almost two years ago, the SC2Blog ran a poll to see how our readers would react to Blizzard charging a monthly fee for StarCraft 2. The reaction was not positive, to say the least.

This is the first and only official confirmation of the existence of a monthly fee-based StarCraft 2 pricing. Further posts explain the reasoning behind the need for a subscription-based service in Russia:

Of course that is also an option that Russian players have. The subscription model is mainly for those players that would not be able to afford the European version. This will also give them the option of buying the less expensive game and then afterwards deciding that the game is worth upgrading to the European version and as such they will have access to European as well as the Russian servers.

It should be noted that Russian Internet users are more accustomed to making micro-payments for services received online. Despite the rampant software piracy practiced in Russia, online social and gaming networks often receive payments for what most Internet services provide for free.

Blizzard’s decision actually provides Russian gamers with more optionsthe game will be priced at 499 (jewel) and 999 (DVD) Rubles ($17 and $34, respectively), and include 120 days or a year of gameplay, depending on the version purchased. According to the article, the game will be fully localized and playable only on Russian Battle.net servers, and players will be required to pay an additional fee to play on international European servers. However, the option to purchase the European version immediately, for the same price available in Europe, will be given to Russians as well. Still, it’s not clear whether or not they’ll be “locked” to European servers only, not being able to play on servers in Mother Russia.

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