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Analyst: Initial StarCraft II Sales Figures Miss Korea

Blizzard reported that the PC RTS game StarCraft II sold 1.5 million units in its first 48 hours, but one analyst said sales in Korea -- where the game is akin to a national sport -- are not yet adequately represented.
Activision Blizzard said Tuesday that the highly-anticipated PC real-time strategy game StarCraft II sold 1.5 million units worldwide in its first 48 hours -- record-breaking performance for the genre, the company claimed. But the number was still "light of some forecasts," according to Lazard Capital analyst Colin Sebastian, who said Activision's official numbers might not paint the entire picture of the commercial strength of the game. "While this number is light of some forecasts, we view this as largely a U.S. [plus] Europe number, with the majority of users in Korea still not reflected in the count," Sebastian noted. In Korea, the game, released worldwide on July 27, is massively popular, and pro StarCraft players are treated as celebrities. "In other words, once the game in Korea shifts from 'free trial' to purchases, we expect the overall user base to be closer to the forecasts, and sales figures not as front-end loaded as expected," Sebastian said. The analyst noted that the business model for StarCraft II varies by region. While Westerners pay for the game in one lump at retailers or digitally through Battle.net, other regions charge for the game using time cards and other models based on usage. "Moreover, once the game launches in China, and 'game room' competition intensifies, we expect to see a more meaningful contribution from recurring revenues for the title," Sebastian said. He added, "Based on strength in Korea, we believe that StarCraft [II] can still achieve [around 4 million] users over the first couple of months, and up to 6.5 million users during the fiscal year."

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