While Activision has been up front with investors about the possibility of 2011 ending without a single release from Blizzard, the Diablo III developer is still holding out hope to celebrate at least one launch this year.
Speaking in an Activision post-earnings conference call today, Blizzard's Mike Morhaime said the company is working hard to get the game on store shelves by the end of this year. However, he also noted that it was still too early to commit to that release window, and Activision's own guidance for the year specifically noted that it did not include any Blizzard releases.
"There are a lot of moving parts in putting out a complex release like Diablo III," Morhaime said, noting that the recently announced real-money auction house hasn't been tested in beta yet. That beta is expected to begin by the end of September.
Morhaime also talked about the Diablo III business model. While the auction house will provide a new way for the company to pull revenues from the game, Morhaime said he expects Diablo III to follow a traditional boxed retail product model, with a primary product on shelves and subsequent expansions offered for sale.
For more on Diablo III, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.