Last Updated on September 21, 2019 by Michael Brockbank
Blizzard dropped the ball at Blizzcon 2018 by announcing Diablo Immortal. And thanks to the power of social media, many consumers made their disgust publicly known. However, I doubt the anger and frustration will make a dent in Activision Blizzard’s plan to release the mobile adaptation.
After all, mobile games are money-making platforms today. But do all games need to have a mobile version at the ready?[template id=”145″]
Diablo Immortal Angered the Fans
Diablo 3 debuted back in 2012. Since then, many players continue to jump into one of the most grindiest games on the market.
And I am one of them.
Unfortunately for Blizzard, a lot of players like myself would rather put a game to the power of a PC or even an Xbox than to stare for hours on a 5-inch mobile display.
There are simply too many limitations on mobile tech when compared to the power of a finely built PC.
When Blizzard announced Diablo Immortal at Blizzcon, it was met with various “boos” throughout the audience. And their defense was saying something to the effect: “Do you guys not have phones?”
And that statement right there is one of the biggest failings of the unveiling. Not everyone who has a phone cares to put in the hours to play a game, even if it’s based on one of the most popular franchises.
Blizzard seemed shocked at the reaction and almost seems like they were waiting for some kind of an applause. Which demonstrates they either: a) really don’t understand their core audience, or b) really don’t care about their core audience.
A Game No One Wanted?
One comment in Twitter that stood out to me was pointing out how Diablo Immortal is a game that no one asked for. And among the various Diablo fans I know and watch, not one of them was looking forward to a mobile adaptation of the franchise.
Another issue I had about the announcement was in reference to the reasons behind creating Diablo Immortal. Mobile devices keep us all connected and, “Nothing brings the family together like slaying demons.”
I can guarantee that gaming isn’t on my dad’s mind when he looks at his smartphone. Set aside the fact that he’s in his 50s at the moment and doesn’t care about technology all that much.
Not all of your players are in their teens, Blizzard. A lot of us cut our gaming teeth on the original Diablo more than 20 years ago.
One of the patrons to Blizzcon asked, “Is this an out-of-season April Fool’s joke?” And with good reason. A vast portion of the fan base is not into Diablo for the smartphone.
Diablo 4 May Still Be in the Works
Another failing of the Diablo Immortal announcement was how Blizzard did not calm the audience down by going into details about the next Diablo game. But if you followed the company, you would know that the mobile adaptation is only one Diablo project currently in the works.
I knew a mobile game was coming several months ago, which is probably why I’m not nearly as upset about the unveiling as many others.
And I know that Blizzard was still hiring developers for the next Diablo project requiring programming knowledge outside of mobile tech. Which gives a great deal of credibility to Diablo 4 and its development.
I just hope it doesn’t take 12 years, which is the gap between the second and third chapters of the game.
Until then, I’ll still grind out achievements and loot in Diablo 3. After all, I have yet to hit the top 1000 in a season.[template id=”505″]
Why I Won’t Play Diablo Immortal
There’s no doubt in my mind that Diablo Immortal will bring in quite a bit of revenue for Activision Blizzard. If society has shown developers anything, it’s that mobile games can generate absurdly massive amounts of money.
And if properly monetized without it seeming like an incredibly high investment, Diablo Immortal has potential to bring in a lot of passive income.
But, I have a better chance of winning Powerball than installing this game onto my phone.
Microtransactions are Almost Guaranteed
If there is one immutable truth about mobile games, it’s monetization. Most developers will produce titles for mobile platforms because the apps are proven as money makers.
It’s a quick way to make an extra buck. This is especially true if the game has any amount of positive engagement.
People will pay money for extra time, turns or bonus “gold” to enhance the experience. And a game like Diablo can easily have microtransactions.
Off the top of my head, I can see how people would pay a few bucks to have certain pieces to set armor. And if Blizzard kept the random-roll dynamic for these pieces of armor, you can get people spending a lot of money trying to “roll” the best set.
Or even selling Death’s Breath, a key component to a lot of recipes in Kanai’s Cube for Diablo 3.
Ah, the gambling mechanic.
Fortunately for myself, things like this do not interest me in the slightest. I’ll spend a bit of money in games like EverQuest for cosmetic items, but that’s only because I know exactly what I’m buying.
Not to mention I’m too poor and apparently more responsible than a lot of gamers. If I don’t have the money to dump into a game, I won’t. I have too many bills that are higher up on my list of priorities.
I’m not saying that everyone who dumps money into microtransactions are irresponsible. It’s just a personal preference, really. I’d rather save the money and buy a full version of a game rather than invest in microtransactions.
And I don’t mind grinding out achievements. It makes me feel more accomplished when I earn a reward rather than buying one.
No Interest in Mobile Gaming
Perhaps the biggest reason why I won’t get into Diablo Immortal is because I have no interest in mobile gaming. Personally, I’d rather feed something through my custom computer system on a 24-inch, dual-monitor setup over staring at my Samsung Galaxy.
Then again, I am a bit biased when it comes to mobile technology. I’ve never been a fan of smartphones.
In fact, I’m not all that keen on gaming consoles, either.
I find I can do far more on my computer than any other system. And if I’m not at my desk to play a game, it’s because I am doing something that requires my attention.
Who Benefits from Diablo Immortal?
Although I, as well as many others, have issues with Diablo Immortal focusing on mobile devices, it’s not entirely a bad thing. While I won’t have anything to do with the game, it does have a few benefits for everyone.
Let me play Devil’s Advocate for a moment…
Activision-Blizzard, of Course
The biggest benefactor is Activision Blizzard. With an easily monetizable platform like Diablo, there’s no doubt it’s going to have a massive return on investment.
We gotta face facts, here. Mobile gaming is a massive market that is saturated with “whales.” These are the people who will easily drop several hundred dollars into a game. Some will even invest into the thousands over time.
Regardless if die-hard fans welcome Diablo Immortal or not, it’s going to make money. Even if it’s from people who really don’t know much about the franchise.
And if Blizzard is smart about the microtransactions, this game stands to make a lot of money.
Expanding the Fan Base
A lot of fierce mobile gamers don’t do much in terms of PC gaming or that of consoles. They want diversions on their hand-held devices that are engaging. And if you can say anything about Blizzard’s gaming tactics, it’s the story lines are just that.
I powered through all chapters of Star Craft and Diablo as soon as the game hit my computer. It’s the overall story that really sucks me in.
Those who don’t play Diablo 3, or any of the titles before, may easily become fans of the franchise after Diablo Immortal. It may even impact whether they buy Diablo 4 for PC or consoles in the future.
Think of Diablo Immortal as a mobile, monetized, interactive advertisement for the franchise. If people are really drawn to it, they’ll want to continue the saga. Which may impact sales on other systems.
It’s All About Money
The biggest thing you need to put into perspective is how Activision Blizzard is a publicly traded company. Which means it has shareholders to appease. And the more money they make, the happier everyone becomes.
This is no doubt an attempt to grab a bit of money to keep the company going. And although stocks for Activision Blizzard took a bit of a hit through October and into November, it still continues to thrive.
Don’t get me wrong…I am a fan of Blizzard’s content. However, I don’t agree with many of the decisions the company makes as a whole. Then again, I have a bit of a strong negative mindset when it comes to the industry.
In any case, we shouldn’t bash Activision Blizzard too hard for its unveiling of Diablo Immortal. While it’s not the game many of us gamers want, it doesn’t signify Diablo’s demise on PC or console systems.
Patience is a virtue, and we should wait to see what the developer does next before launching an all-out boycott of the company.
From a financial standpoint, mobile gaming is a good path to expand into. As long as it’s not the only path for the future of Diablo.[template id=”543″]
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