StarCraft Stats: Then and Now

By  |  Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 10:26 am

PC gamers are coming out of the woodwork for today’s release of StarCraft II, a remarkable thing considering the downward spiral of traditional retail computer gaming. But how much has PC gaming really changed in the 12 years since Blizzard (now Activision-Blizzard) released the original StarCraft? To find out, I dug up a few facts and figures from 1998 and today.

StarCraft System Requirements

  • Starcraft II: 2.6 GHz Pentium IV, 1 GB of RAM, 12 GB of free space, 128 MB graphics card,¬†1024-by-720 minimum resolution, DVD drive.
  • Starcraft: 90 MHz Pentium, 16 MB of RAM, 80 MB of free space, SVGA video card supporting 640 x 480 DirectDraw, 4x CD-ROM drive.

Delay Between PC and Mac Versions

  • Starcraft: One year
  • Starcraft II: No delay

Quantity of PC Games

  • “Notable” 1998 Windows game releases, according Wikipedia: 21, compared to seven Playstation and three Nintendo 64.
  • Total 2010 scheduled Windows games: 81, compared to 94 Playstation 3, 86 Xbox 360 and 45 Wii.

Quality of PC Games

  • Two of the all-time best-selling PC games were released in 1998 (StarCraft and Half-Life, totaling more than 20 million sales)
  • One of the all-time best-selling PC games was released in 2009 (Dragon Age: Origins, at roughly 3 million sales)

PC Game Revenue (U.S.)

  • In 1998: $1.8 billion
  • In 2009: $538 million (retail and subscriptions only, no downloads)

Number of People Still Playing StarCraft in the United States: 180,000 since January 2008.

StarCraft for Game Consoles?

Status of Duke Nukem Forever

  • In 1998: Demonstrated at E3, promised “well-before” Christmas
  • In 2010: Dead.

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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Mike Cerm Says:

    Starcraft II is so unimpressive that the computer I built back in 2004 actually meets the minimum specs. I understand Blizzard is targeting low-end systems with WoW, but you have to be pretty hard-core to care about Starcraft. I can't imagine that all the Korean Starcraft players out there are still using 5 year old systems.

  2. Driftwood Says:

    As any mature gamer would tell you: Never judge a game on its system specs.
    My understanding is Blizzard intentionally keep their specs low so more people can play their games (obviously more sales for them). IMHO who needs a million particles all properly reflecting the ambient light of an explosion when you've got a solid, balanced, and most of all fun game.

  3. play the game Says:

    Starcraft II runs on lower end systems but its specs can be changed in the options screen for the newest pcs. You can toggle the settings to your system performance.

    One thing i liked about Blizzard is they made sure EVERYONE can play their games. Im glad They didnt Pull a Rockstar Games GTA IV with “only the latest greatest system will run our game at very slow FPS due to crappy code optimization”

    I grew up with an Aiari 2600 game system so its always been “gameplay before graphics” Back then all we had to rely on was solid gameplay.

    The original Starcraft didnt have the most uber-greatest graphics of its time either, but solid gameplay and control kept people riveted to their seats… and Became a national Sport in some countries like Korea.

    People STILL play the original Starcraft both single player and online.
    That in itself is a testament to how good the game is.

    As i say with any game… just play it before you pass any judgements.

    Personally I am happy that Starcraft finally got a sequel out.

    Is it worth the wait? Hell Yeah. Next Gen Zerg Rushing For the Win.