Diablo Immortal Controversy: Blizzard's New President Responds
"We've seen some interesting reaction to the announcement."
At BlizzCon, Blizzard announced an all-new Diablo game for mobile devices called Diablo Immortal. To say the announcement didn't go over well with the community is an understatement. Even though Blizzard warned fans that it wasn't planning to reveal the next core Diablo game at BlizzCon, many were upset over the reveal of Immortal and the fact that Blizzard didn't provide any details whatsoever about what's next for the mainline series.
Now, Blizzard's new president J. Allen Brack (who replaced Mike Morhaime) has responded to the drama. During an earnings call, Brack said he's thankful for the loud feedback because it shows people care about Diablo. He said he understands players are hungry for more Diablo on PC and console, and reiterated that Blizzard has multiple teams working on different games in the franchise. According to a report, Diablo 4 is in development right now.
Blizzard reportedly filmed a video in which co-founder Allen Adham confirmed the next big Diablo game, though whether or not it was intended to be shown at BlizzCon is unconfirmed. For its part, Blizzard claims it didn't pull any announcements from BlizzCon.
"We've seen some interesting reaction to the announcement," Brack said. "I think it's clear there's a lot of players who are eager for more Diablo PC and console content. That came through loud and clear from BlizzCon. Frankly, we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so much about that franchise. The commitment and the engagement of our community is one of the things that makes Blizzard very special and something that we really appreciate.
"We like to hear the things that the fans articulate as to what they want to hear next, and what we can do better, frankly. Diablo is an important, tentpole franchise for Blizzard. One of the things that we've said is we have multiple teams working on multiple different projects for the Diablo community," he added.
Brack went on to say that Diablo Immortal, despite being only available for mobile devices, will be a "very authentic Diablo experience," with Blizzard refusing to compromise on that. Not only that, but Brack said Blizzard has plans to support the game for a while after launch.
"We feel that Diablo Immortal is going to deliver a very authentic Diablo experience, and we're not going to compromise on that mission," he said. "Launching the game is only going to be the beginning. There's going to be ongoing support. We're only going to release the game when we feel like it is meeting the community's very high standards. In the end, Diablo Immortal is going to fulfil that, and we think that people are going to experience it, and we think they're going to love it."
Blizzard is making a Diablo game for mobile because of one very obvious reason: mobile is the biggest gaming platform in the world, and especially with its appeal to the Chinese gaming market, it could be very lucrative no matter what business model it ends up using.
Brack said mobile is a "very significant opportunity" for Diablo as it relates to the game's reach and presumably its revenue potential. He also teased that Diablo for mobile could be just the first of Blizzard's franchise to get mobile releases, as another Blizzard executive already said. Blizzard is apparently planning to adapt all of its franchises for mobile in the future.
"Mobile is the biggest platform in gaming today," Brack said. "And taking a game like Diablo onto that platform in a way that is really reflecting our quality standards, I think can open that franchise and other franchises to a global audience, including people who don't have PCs. Or especially in China where Blizzard is a very, very strong western brand. Regarding the timing, that's something that we'll talk about as we go forward. It's very important that we release the game, and it's an excellent experience when it is released."
Also during the call, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said people who actually played Diablo Immortal at BlizzCon quite enjoyed it. The feedback was "really positive" among those who tried it out, Kotick said.
GameSpot went hands-on with Diablo Immortal at BlizzCon, and editor Alessandro Fillari was surprisingly impressed by the game in this early stage.
No release date for Diablo Immortal has been announced, nor has Blizzard said if it will be a free or paid game. Blizzard is developing the title alongside free-to-play veteran and longtime partner NetEase, if that's any indication as to the business model it may use.
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