Diablo Immortal Controversy: Blizzard's New President Responds

"We've seen some interesting reaction to the announcement."

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Now Playing: Diablo Immortal - Cinematic Trailer | Blizzcon 2018

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.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Avatar image for Sindred
Sindred

You lost me at “biggest platform in gaming.” Biggest platform in profiting slithery tactical entertainment, absolutely. But don’t call it “gaming” bro.

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

Ah. I didn't see the new president part. Yep, new leadership can radically alter a company's fortunes.

Avatar image for ronthallsballs
RonThallsBalls

Everyone: Re-master Diablo 2.

Blizzard: ??? U wnt real money auction house?

Everyone: Re-master Diablo 2.

Blizzard: ??? U wnt pets?

Everyone: Re-master Diablo 2.

Blizzard: ??? U wnt mobile game?

Everyone: Re-master Diablo 2

Blizzard: ??? u wnt LEGO Diablo?

Avatar image for newbpwnr
newbpwnr

this is the guy who oversaw the dumpster fire that is beta for azeroth btw.

Avatar image for prosperitypark
ProsperityPark

I don't see what the fuss is about.. I just got DiabloIII on switch and it already looks, sounds, and plays like a mobile game. Terrible voice acting, a plot paper-thin, no memorable characters, one-dimensional gameplay...

Oh, wait.. maybe that's why people hate Diablo III... anyways, I just see Diablo: Immortal as "Diablo III: II"

Avatar image for OrgeLambart
OrgeLambart

so they released a Diablo game on mobile.. OMG it's the end of the world... stop being so triggered by everything.. snowflakes..

Avatar image for tony56723
Tony56723

@OrgeLambart: god forbid people at a PC convention wanted a PC game instead of a crash grab.

Avatar image for wexorian
wexorian

So much damage control , Those game"Journalists" who should be gamers are not even gamers . write ,advertising articles for BIG CORPORATIONS....

Avatar image for jamesseda
jamesseda

What has been lacking from Blizzard in any way, shape or form in my opinion has been a direct answer to our real concern. Are you still committed to your core base while looking for a more global audience? Are you still committed to the main PC and console games that made Blizzard infamous? Are these mobile endeavors an extension of your main games but not a direct replacement? Have you moved key people from your main games to concentrate on mobile only? I would love to hear from some of their game developers on what is going on in Blizzard and not just CEO's. Is there a new shift or re-alignment in the company? Was this why Mike Morhaime left?

I know I am reaching at straws on that last one, but it is the only thing the gaming community can do when their legitimate concerns and questions by consumers are being met with only vague answers from a company we all love and quite frankly made by supporting and purchasing their product time and again.

These are my concerns and unfortunately they have not been fully addressed or stated. Blizzard is just doing a song and dance around the subject. Any gamer is wondering this right now and if Blizzard was connected to the gaming community as they say they are and if they were real gamers and listening then they would understand this and try to correct it. Since the Blizzcon announcement of Diablo Immortal though, it would seem that they are not.

I listened intently to Mike Morhaime's farewell at Blizzcon. About how they made games they wanted to play, how they made them as real gamers for real gamers and how in awe they were when the consumers came out in droves to purchase their product. How we all came for their signings and how all this led to the creation of Blizzcon. Mike and Blizzard as a whole were eternally grateful to all their fans. What happened?

As a 47 year old father, consumer and gamer (who's daughters 14 and 25 cannot put down Overwatch by the way) I am deeply concerned and a little worried that one of my favorite video game and entertainment companies in the world is "and has been" going down a road well traveled by some, but disliked by many.

Avatar image for OrgeLambart
OrgeLambart

@jamesseda: mobile is the biggest gaming platform in the world, with more users then all the consoles and PC combined.. Sure the games suck, but mobile gaming has proven to bring in significant amounts of revenue.. Why would they no long make games for the PC/consoles because they got into mobile gaming.. Blizzard is huge, they have numerous divisions working on various different games at any given time..

The whole blowback from their mobile announcement is just entitled PC gamers reeling from the fact that OMG, Blizzard actually wants to make money and hit target demographics that aren't me..

Avatar image for jamesseda
jamesseda

@OrgeLambart: That would be great if those exact words were spoken by Blizzard. That is all the community is asking for. A proper response. We want to know what is or will happen to the base franchise we all know and love. But they have yet to directly answer that. You have repeated what they have told us. We all know the revenue that is possible from mobile games. I do not play mobile games. I only have Vice City installed and I hardly play it because of the exact same problem, clunky controls and my fingers cover the whole beautiful screen. Diablo immortal is not catered to me. That's ok. That is not my frustration. A lot of gamers will not play this because of the micro-transactions and some don't care. I will look at it out of curiosity but the minute micro-transactions come into play I will delete the game. As simple as that. We do not mind that Blizzard wants to enter that market at all. We have already stated this. Even yourself.

That statement about "entitled: gamer is nothing short of a made up word to silence gamers/consumers so I deeply disagree with that sentiment. I think it's deeply insulting to the gaming community if nothing else just a false label in my opinion. Are we entitled as consumers when we expect a more transparent or truthful response from automakers, computer makers, phone and electronic makers...heck even a keurig coffee maker? No. in the end we all are consumers.

Avatar image for OrgeLambart
OrgeLambart

@jamesseda: cool, so you don't play Mobile game, but Millions if not Billions of other people do.. This argument is the same one made by PC gamers when talking about why PC games don't have exclusives.. Why would a developer not try to make as much money as possible..

Why do they have to say they have multiple departments working on various different games.. That's how most BIG/HUGE studios work, they work on multiple projects at one time.. If they only worked on a single project the studio would go out of business..

When someone acts entitled they get called out on it.. You are owed nothing at all.. They gave you the information they were ready to give.. Gamers have themselves to thank for Developers/Publishers no longer being transparent after what happened with Aliens Colonial Marines, No Man's Sky, Duke Nukem Forever and a slew of other games that were build up with so much hype because the Publishers/Developers talked about them early and often..

Then when things changed as they often do in game development, the fans get angry and demand this or that, or trash the game.. That's why developers/publishers are keeping things close to the vest until they are ready to release that information.. WE have only ourselves to blame by being bags and feigning ignorance at how game development works..

Avatar image for jamesseda
jamesseda

@OrgeLambart: I do not disagree with you on the bad behavior on the part of some gamers towards game companies, developers and others. That is bad and it has to stop. All those games and projects you mentioned are very unfortunate cases and I am sure there are many more and there will probably will be many more in the future. This is happening everywhere. not only game developers. Movies, authors, politics. It is quite unfortunate.

I do however still stand by my main post where Blizzard is not being direct with the fans on their core games and plans for the future. Yes they do not need to say anything. Maybe we are owed nothing as you say. Then again, maybe Blizzard should then stop telling their fan-base and community "Hey, we are listening? Give us feedback. They want to know whats on our minds? That they always value our feedback and are listening and always did. That they will respond to our concerns? Well that is my feedback for Blizzard.

Avatar image for OrgeLambart
OrgeLambart

@jamesseda: My point was that's why studios aren't being as forth coming with information about games years before their release.. Because when they do, it always comes back to bite them in the arse.. It's because people feign not understanding how game development works..

You create an idea, you try to get that idea working, sometimes it works, othertimes it doesn't... When you stay open with fans about an idea, which then doesn't work as intended or needs to be scrapped, Fans kill them on that... Meanwhile, not saying anything means you don't get blow back... Like the Spiderman puddles most recently.. You're right it'll keep happening, which is why publishers/developers will keep holding back information on games..

Avatar image for Evenglare
Evenglare

How do people over there at blizzard not understand that its not the game that people hate, its the fact that its mobile. Im sure its a competant game but *most* any kind of "hardcore" gamer doesn't do mobile gaming in any serious way. Phone controls are inherently flawed because you have to cover the screen with your fingers to input things. ****, its so much PR bullshit. Even older diablo 2 devs are calling them on it. But gotta chase that mobile money i guess. But they won't be getting that from me. Which sucks because those storylines sound cool.

Avatar image for OrgeLambart
OrgeLambart

@Evenglare: Mobile has more gamers then the PC and Consoles combined,, anyone with an Iphone has the capability to be a gamer and most of them are gaming.. Playing stupid games with money grabbing content but it's still gaming. Just because it's not up to the standard most gamers have doesn't change the fact these people are spending money... LOTS of it..

This is just an overreaction by Blizzard fans because the ol Blizz wants to tap into the mobile money.. You should be happy that they can tap into that mobile market and gain a new influx of cash to help make other IP's better.. If you dislike it, then don't play it.. If you have an Iphone and you've downloaded and played a game on there, you're part of the problem..

Avatar image for vbritez20
vbritez20

Well to be fair if you don't like it just don't buy it, this is not the game for you, the game for you and I coz I don't like it too is in production and will come up later, what Blizz really mess up was the timming at Blizzcon where all the people there are PC you don't feed them mobile or better said only that, if they at least had something else for PC, a trailer, a logo something else it would no be this bad

Avatar image for Hagan
Hagan

PC gamers don't want to play on mobile. Small screens, goofy control schemes, and worst of all the "bleed you to death" pay systems in these types of games. I will not be touching it.

BlizzCon in the past has been for PC gamers, and to announce a Chinese mobile game at an event where your core audience is expecting something PC related for one of your core franchises is just a middle finger to your fans.

Hard pass.

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lunarsword

Seriously, the only way I'd touch this is if you just bought it for maybe $15-$20 and had everything it would ever have.

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SirFalconArc

they all appeared to be reading from a script tbh - absolutely no emotion or sense of passion in any of their answers; the employees left now are the ones more interested in money than their love for the games. any passion they once had has long since been extinguished by the money men at activision & the ones that do care have long since left the company. these drones that you pay to see on the stage at blizzcon have long lost their love for the games and worlds we all care about - they only live for the $ figures that come out at the end - and of course the $ in their pockets.

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Millionsedge

Money grab

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Thanatos2k

The presentation was beyond embarrassing. The people on stage knew they were promoting garbage, and for once, the audience was not fooled either.

How could Blizzard execs not forsee this? Are they THAT out of touch with their playerbase, or do they simply not care? Spare us your "multiple teams" nonsense. You should not have announced a chinese reskinned mobile travesty at Blizzcon. If you're working on Diablo 4, you should have announced Diablo 4. Unless you're not working on Diablo 4 and are feebly just trying to do damage control.

Avatar image for BoSnerdly
BoSnerdly

The 2 official corporate talking points on the subject that you hear from every Blizzard employee...
"multiple teams working on multiple different projects" and "very authentic Diablo experience"
If you hear that enough, you'll start to believe! @_@

Avatar image for masterfrankgrimes
MasterFrankGrimes

Damn. Diablo fans are some entitled man children.

Avatar image for Evenglare
Evenglare

@masterfrankgrimes: I'm entitled because I want a good new entry into the franchise that's on PC that I want to spend my money on? Ok. Sure. I guess if that's what entitled means, that's me.

Avatar image for OrgeLambart
OrgeLambart

@Evenglare: them releasing a mobile game doesn't take away from you getting a new PC game.. like he said, people out here acting like Entitled man children.. They said they are working on Diablo for the PC, they are a massive company and have numerous gaming division working on various projects, just because they didn't bring out a whole set up for the new Diablo game doesn't mean they aren't working on it,, just means they aren't at a point where they want to start building up hype for a project likely 2 - 4 years out..

On the flip side, lets say they bring out the hype videos, you get the same entitled people angry they have to wait 2 or 4 years, getting all hyped up and building the game in their head, then when it finally releases you get massive backlash..

Look at No Man's Sky, imagine if they didn't hype that thing up for 2 or 3 years prior to it coming out.. It would have been received far better, and wouldn't have gotten nearly as much backlash because people wouldn't have built this game in their mind that just wasn't going to be possible right out of the gate..

Avatar image for Hagan
Hagan

@masterfrankgrimes: or they just don't want to be fed shit?

Avatar image for ballashotcaller
ballaShotCaller

I didn't like the reveal but I played it at Blizzcon and did like it so Kotick is not wrong. I also overheard other people liking the gameplay. I do wish they put more story elements into it with some lore rather than just a run and gun. Crazy to come back from Blizzcon and see everybody who didn't play it hate on it so bad. The media just took that dislike and ran with it to get clicks even though they were there.

Avatar image for Kezzy123
Kezzy123

If what you heard was "Frankly, we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so much about that franchise."

You are completely clueless as to the real message from the fan.


The fan lost all sort of respect for your company for turning more and more into a low hanging fruit cash grabbing shameless company.

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