Without any fanfare, Activision Blizzard launched StarCraft II Beta, revealing it with an appropriate FAQ on Blizzard’s Battle.net forums. This was followed by official press release from Blizzard, stating that the title will ship in first half of 2010.

In order to access the beta, you need to have a Battle.Net account and apply for Beta program. Blizzard adopted the no-nonsense approach, which companies such as Electronic Arts still have to learn [judging by recent blunder called beta keys for Battlefield: Bad Company 2]. If you pre-registered for the beta and got approved, your inbox should already contain an invite.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty - Protoss vs. Terrans get a whole new dimension
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty – War between Protoss and Terrans get a whole new dimension

According to Mike Morhaime, CEO of Blizzard Entertainment, "Gathering concentrated feedback from our players is an important step for us as we head into the final stretch of development for StarCraft II and the new Battle.net service. We look forward to having our players’ help in polishing the overall experience and preparing for launch."

Regardless of how fast the beta program ends, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is one of hit titles for 2010, if not the game of the year. Given the global success of first StarCraft, and the fact that you could study StarCraft economics course at several universities in South Korea there is no doubt that the weight of the world now lies on Blizzard’s shoulders. The company took its time to develop the game which ultimately got chopped into a trilogy, with first part arriving this year.

Update #1: February 19, 2010 at 01:47AM UTC – We received word about the official minimum configuration needed to play the beta. This is by no means the final minimum system configuration but serves as a good guidance to what you might expect when this title finally rolls out:

PC Minimum Requirements:
? Windows XP SP3/Vista SP1/Windows 7
? 2.2 Ghz Pentium IV or equivalent AMD Athlon processor
? 1 GB system RAM/1.5 GB for Vista and Windows 7
? 128 MB NVidia GeForce 6600 GT/ATI Radeon 9800 PRO video card
? 1024×768 minimum display resolution
? 4 GB free hard space (Beta)
? Broadband connection