Recently, the original Starcraft became available to download and play for free. Starcraft is one of the all-time greats in the RTS genre and games in general. With over 10 million copies sold since it’s release, Starcraft has made its fair share of cash. For such an iconic game, why would Blizzard make it free and lose out on some extra money? Although not obvious, this marketing move will do wonders for Blizzard, and will actually make them more money in the long run.
Not only did Blizzard recently announce Starcraft available for free, but also a Starcraft HD remastered edition. This will be the same original game, just with better graphics and some bug fixes. For a young gamer like me who wasn’t even alive for the original release, this doesn’t interest me. However, for old Starcraft fanboys, this is an awesome chance to relive some great memories. It’s no secret that the graphics of 1998 Starcraft are very outdated compared to today, although it was revolutionary for its time. With the remastered edition, you can relive your best Starcraft moments with new and much more pleasing visuals.
This is also part of an elaborate marketing scheme by Blizzard. With this free release of the original Starcraft, it gets a lot of people talking and playing Starcraft again, much more than if it cost $20. Many gamers like myself will play it a bit but shortly forget about it, but others will fall in love all over again and play it for hours and hours. Now already hooked, when Blizzard releases the HD remaster, all those players are already half sold, likely to buy for an even better experience.
Now that the gaming industry is several decades old, classic games from classic companies like Blizzard have come and gone, unlikely to see the light of day again. Barely anyone was playing Starcraft before (with the release of Starcraft 2), and even less were buying. It was ultimately just left to rot and be forgotten. Blizzard had nothing to lose releasing it for free and did not have to spend much time and resources remastering Starcraft. It may be a bit risky, but this was a cool marketing move by Blizzard.