It's all StarCraft II news here all the time, it seems, and now we're hearing the game sold some 1 million units during its first 24 hours on sale, mounting to 1.5 million during the following 24. That makes it the biggest PC game debut to date for 2010. It also earns Blizzard's space-based unit-bashing sequel the record-holder for fastest-selling strategy video game of all time.
Blizzard says it launched StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty simultaneously in North America, Europe, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau on July 27. Today's press release claims more than 8,000 stores worldwide opened at midnight to give players a chance to grab copies early (in the U.S., the game, which required online activation, remained unplayable until July 27 at 10:00 AM PDT).
"We launched StarCraft II in 11 different languages and on 5 different continents because we wanted to make sure as many players as possible were able to log on and play on day one," wrote Blizzard CEO and cofounder Mike Morhaime in the press statement. "We're pleased that so many people around the world have already picked up a copy of the game, and we look forward to welcoming even more players to Battle.net in the weeks and months ahead."
GameStop merchandizing senior VP Bob McKenzie added that "StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is officially GameStop's fastest-selling PC game since Blizzard launched World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King in 2008." Released November 2008, Wrath of the Lich King sold 2.8 million copies during its first 24 hours on sale.
The original StarCraft, released in 1998, sold more than 11 million copies. With two expansions pack to come--assuming we aggregate everything under the StarCraft II umbrella--even with PC retail sales slumming, another 9.5 million units over the ensuing decade seems pretty well ensured.
Mike Hickey with Janco Partners estimates the game could sell as many as 7 million copies through Blizzard current fiscal year, raising $350 million in sales and $171 million in operating profit. While it's difficult to pin down actual revenue given world market disparities, multiplying 1.5 million units sold by the base U.S. price of the game ($60) puts current revenue at about $90 million.
Also: While I'm pretty sure the 1.5 million units figure includes Blizzard's online as well as retail sales, the press release doesn't indicate this, so we're assuming the total's aggregating both distribution channels.
Follow us on Twitter (@game_on)