Sunday, May 27, 2007

Starcraft II

It is hard to imagine a game getting more advance buzz and hype then Starcraft II. Announced just last week (in case you're just waking up from a 28-days later style coma, you can watch some footage here) SC2 is almost guaranteed to smash all sales records when it finally launches.

Just how many copies will it sell? Difficult to predict, of course, but the simExchange (I mentioned it earlier) is going do its best to try and guess. The current futures estimate is in the neighborhood of 10 million copies worldwide. Based off of the insane hype already surrounding this game the stock price on the SimExchange rose nearly 25% in one day. Obviously a lot of people have big expectations for this game.

One point to note, though, is that the SimExchange does not seem to be international yet (that is, English is the only language of information and comments) and the bulk of games listed are those with western appeal. Given SC2's huge important in the Asian market (in particular Korea) I'd be curious to see what would happen to the futures estimates if the fanatical Koreans started 'buying' shares. Something tells me the sales expectations would quickly inflate to astronomical levels, not because the game will necessarily sell 50 million copies (or some other absurdly large number) but because the hype is so strong that 'purchasers' would abandon all logic and just get swept up in the frenzy (*ahem* -- tech stocks circa 1999 anyone?). Clearly, though, its a good time to be Blizzard.

On a slight tangent, Joystiq today posted a video of a matchup between two Korean Starcraft gods which you can find embedded below. An interesting video, to be sure, but unless you are a huge fanatic you'll likely want to let the whole thing load then skip around to the exciting parts. Even though the whole thing is in Korean and I'm not a SC guru it is clear there are some very advanced strategies at work here but I can't help but feel I'd appreciate it so much more if someone could give me a running analysis of whats going on (and why it is so impressive) in my own language.

Which brings me to a point I've made a few times in the past re: meta-data for games (and, in this case, game movies). It would not be an impossible task for someone to take this YouTube flash video, export it to a .avi, open it up locally and overdub their own match analysis, replacing the Korean commentators (perhaps a lengthy process, but surely there are those willing to make the investment) widening the potential appeal of the video to a large English-speaking market. There are thousands of fan mashups of videogame trailers released on YouTube but I haven't seen much 'meta-analysis' (for lack of a better word). Are they out there? If so, how does one go about finding them?

How nice would it be to be able to visit a YouTube movie's page and click on a link called: "Find Mashed-Up Media" that would search YouTube for all of the other videos uploaded that share certain digital fingerprints (ie: the same video track, or parts thereof, but different audio tracks). Can someone get to work on inventing that already? :)

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