Kotaku recently reported that Blizzard is still being tight-lipped about any official release date for Starcraft 2 in 2009 and that there's simply no chance we'll see Diablo 3 released this year. I doubt this comes as any surprise to most of you at this point, but there is mention that we will definitely see one big Blizzard title this year.
"What is it? Blizzard COO Paul Sams wouldn't confirm whether that game is, indeed, the first chapter of the StarCraft II trilogy, only confirming that "Blizzard intends on delivering one front line release per year." Activision Blizzard has factored that mystery game into its estimated earnings for 2009.
"You can see that is contemplated," Sams said during the company's earnings call. "Which title is being released this year, we're not saying."
Considering that StarCraft II appears to be the game closest to completion, we'd think the real-time strategy could make a 2009 release. Diablo III? No way. And while Blizzard did say it has "substantial expansions" planned for World of Warcraft this year, we'd find it hard to believe a retail expansion on par with Wrath of the Lich King will be ready for December."
Blizzard COO Paul Sams also told Kotaku that Battle.net 2.0 and the Starcraft 2 Beta are on there way in the next few months:
"According to Blizzard COO Paul Sams, the StarCraft II beta is likely just months away. Two months? Ten months? We hope it's not the latter, especially since we're counting on the first entry, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty to hit sometime this year, if only for sanity's sake.
While Blizzard is cagey on locking down a date, Sams says that we'll get a taste of the next iteration of Battle.net when the StarCraft II beta goes public. Exactly what changes Blizzard will be adding to the online matching service that "support online tournaments, eSports, and enhanced communication between players" haven't been confirmed."
Good to know we've at least got some exciting things in the pipeline to look forward to this year. I definitely can't wait to see Battle.net 2.0. Here's hoping it's only a few months away!