Take today’s exchange rate as an example. 1 US dollar is just below 1.36 Singapore dollar. You can do the maths and work out how much more gamers in Singapore are paying for a local copy of Starcraft II (35% extra). I have pre-downloaded my US version directly days before the game was launched and have paid US$59.99 this morning instead of S$109. And this is the first installment out of three. No way I am going to get ripped off three times in a row.
Note: You must select the US version before you begin the download. See screenshots at below.
When I first log into us.battle.net, my region is always being default to Asia. You can change it to US North America (note: Do not visit the SEA Battle.net website).
As you can see, although I am from Asia, I own a US copy.
When I first heard that Starcraft II costs S$109, I said no way. It is selling at Amazon.com for US$59.99 (S$81). That is a rip off. Besides, no PC games cost that much so far in Singapore. There is indeed another way. Days before the July 27 launch, Starcraft II was opened for pre-download directly from Blizzard’s online store. It took me around 7 hours to download the 7 GB game client via SingTel broadband (one reported that it would take 72 days on a StarHub network). Blizzard has kept mummed on the price of the digital copy prior to the launch. After the digital copy was launched on July 27 (10 am PDT), I have purchased the game key at US$59.99.
I suppose there are pros and cons of not getting a local copy. Here is a laundry list for your consideration.
- Digital copy does not come with a box. I am OK not to have a box. It takes up space and I am used to purchasing digital copies online via Steam. If I was willing to pay more for a box, I would have imported the Collector’s Edition instead. Besides, I am reducing the carbon footprint of PC gaming. Good, yes?
- US digital copy only allows you to play with the gamers within North America. And I suppose there is a higher latency compares to logging directly onto the Singapore server. As for me, I seldom choose the multi-player option. I buy Starcraft II for the campaigns. If I do want to experience playing with others, I still can. And if I want to play with someone who has bought the Southeast Asia version, I still can. It is because SEA gamers, as of now, are allowed to log into the US server (but not the other way round). Why would I want to pay extra?
- Some say support the local industry and give IAHGames the support. I remember how they screwed up the hosting of Hellgate:London couple of years ago. Be it as their fault or not, gamers don’t forget. I still have the bitter taste. If the local copy of Starcraft II was to cost the same as in America, I would not mind getting one. Paying so much more to support a company that has failed me before? I think not. Some say we should be glad that Blizzard Entertainment has set up an office in Singapore and helped training the folks in IAHGames. I have played Blizzard’s World of Warcraft on a US server for years with zero local support. Besides the Tuesday server maintenance that happens during our prime time, I have no complain. Donating money to IAHGames? I think not. But if they manage to build up a good reputation through the hosting of Battle.Net, I may re-evaluate the situation when Diablo III comes.
If you are still uncertain if Starcraft II is for you, read the game review here as I have completed the game. Meanwhile, here is a fantastic trailer. See it for yourself.