This is what Jason Hall, a former developer at Blizzard Entertainment, claims StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty brought less income than World of Warcraft First Sparkle Pony Horse mount.
Sparkle Pony Horse, also known as Celestial Steed, was first added to Blizzard’s store in 2010 and is still available today along with a truckload of other mounts, pets and microtransactions. The mount used to cost $25, while the standard version of StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty set RTS fans back $59.99 at the time.
Hall, who now works for indie game developer Captain Software, worked at Blizzard for six and a half years between 2009 and 2016. He was involved in the development of Starcraft 2who worked overtime for two years to get the game over the finish line.
In a Twitch stream in September, the developer made the startling claim that the mount made more money than the whole thing Starcraft 2. “Wondering why these companies do microtransactions? Because idiots keep buying everything,” he said.
Unfortunately, Hall didn’t make it clear how a single mount can bring more profit than an entire game. I assume this could be due to the time and money invested in development Starcraft 2 compared to Celestial Steed.
Developing a game is much more demanding than just designing a new mount and requires much more staff and money. For the mount, you could hire a few developers and before you know it, you’ll have a finished product in your hands. Hall also likely spoke about the profit Celestial Steed made during his tenure at Blizzard.
The reason for this is that companies shouldn’t bother investing a lot of money and development time into developing a new game when a few beautifully colored pixels will do the job even better. In 2023, microtransactions are even more present and are considered a central part of games. Currently it’s hard to find a game that doesn’t offer it. To put it simply, it’s quick and easy money that pays off much better in the long run.
Celestial Steed was released in the final stages of the Wrath of the Lich King Expansion, arguably the peak of Wow. Accordingly data for Azeroth, 40 percent of players own the mount, but that happened after the Celestial Steed appeared at the Trading Post for 900 Trader’s Tender. The mount was available in the game for virtually free for an entire month, and all you had to do was complete a few trading post activities and purchase it. Today the mount is no longer available and it is difficult to determine how many people had purchased it before it appeared in the trading post.