Buying Starcraft

At long last, Blizzard has unleashed the next chapter of StarCraft, with the release of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (959 days since StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, and not a day too soon).

As I was slightly disorganised, I only got around to buying it last night, when I hopped onto and ordered the physical media. It cost me £26, with free expedited delivery (hurrah for Amazon Prime).

Buying Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm

In preparation, I logged in to, and was horrified to see the “Upgrade now!” button in the middle of the screen. Maybe I could have got a digital copy earlier, and paid less money? Not so much … Blizzard are charging £32.99 for an online upgrade, a premium of £6.99 over the physical media that Amazon are shipping to me:

Buying Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm

I guess those download servers are expensive to run?

Curious, I decided to compare prices elsewhere. Asda, Game, PC World, Play, Sainsburys, Tesco, who will be cheapest? Here’s what I found:

Asda Starcraft 2: Heart of the SwarmGame Starcraft 2: Heart of the SwarmPC World Buying Starcraft 2: Heart of the SwarmPlay Starcraft 2: Heart of the SwarmSainsbury's Starcraft 2: Heart of the SwarmTesco Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm

  • Asda: £26.97
  • Game: £27.99
  • PC World: £26.99
  • Play: £27.89
  • Sainsburys: £25.99 (+50 nectar points, worth ~ 25p)
  • Tesco: £26

And the kick in the teeth? Amazon are now selling it for £25.27, a whole 73 pence cheaper than just 12 hours ago when I bought it for £26:

Amazon Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm

So the cheapest is still Amazon (leveraging their offshore “we pay no taxes” advantage to beat “every little helps“?), and the most expensive (other than Blizzard’s digital upgrade) was Game. Are we surprised that Game is a struggling retailer, that halved in size last year? The mean purchase price: £26.64 … so I guess my hasty purchase last night was still a bargain.

Right, it’s time to go and wait impatiently beside the letterbox.


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