The Diablo Immortal Announcement: My Thoughts On What Went Down Afterwards

So, let’s talk about Diablo Immortal (and other mobile releases) from Blizzard Entertainment. For those that don’t know, Blizzard made a Diablo announcement at this year’s BlizzCon. Rather than the expected Diablo 4 news though, it was for Diablo Immortal, an upcoming mobile game. The announcement was met with boos. Then the negativity headed out onto the internet.  These are my thoughts o nthe whole situation.

First of all, I want to make it clear that I’m not saying you shouldn’t be upset at all about this. Over the years, the gaming industry has seen a whole host of disappointing announcements releases. Sometimes, games are just plain broken. Sometimes, what seem like obvious features are missing. Sometimes, they get delayed. Unfortunately, it happens. And when it does, of course we get upset. The thing is, there was absolutely no need for how this argument spiraled.

I may not be a Diablo player myself, but I can see where the lack of announcements regarding the 4th game in the core series was disappointing. It’s also clear why the announcement that was made then seemed like a real kick in the teeth for long term fans of the franchise. I honestly think that Blizzard misunderstood their core audience this one. And the response of “Don’t you guys have phones?” was a severe case of not reading the room. The boos should have been a clear sign that, even if it were meant in jest, that was not going to go down well as a statement. And now? The announcement has come that Blizzard will be making more mobile versions of their IPs.

There are a couple of different things to note here. First is that the mobile market is huge. Blizzard are a business, and their goal is to make money. Will the current fans pick up the mobile releases? In some cases, I’m sure they will. But not all will. I really don’t think that’s the point though. Honestly, I would be surprised if Blizzard weren’t already aware that this is going to primarily mean targeting a new market rather than retaining loyal fans. Will it work for them? I’m certain it will. But a lot of people were left worried about the future of current titles.

It should be obvious, but just because they’re entering the mobile market, doesn’t mean that the PC and console games are going away. They’ve actually reiterated this themselves now. If you look at it logically, this was always likely to be the opening of a new division and/or new business partnerships rather than a reduction of work on the already existing titles. That was something that should never have been doubt, but it does seem like that was the first thought that struck some fans. Which sucks, because it’s worrying for nothing.

A lot of the problem here is that when people responded negatively to the original announcement, the frustration was valid, but it all spiraled into the sort of internet argument that’s all too common. Some were (IMO incorrectly) decrying this as a terrible decision by Blizzard. Others were then taking this frustration and throwing all sorts of arguments at why it’s manifesting, ranging from gamers being immature and entitled to outright misogyny towards the female end of the mobile market. Again, I think was largely incorrect. Frankly, it all came across as a playground argument at times.

Now, I’m not saying that there are no people who fit the extreme ends of reasoning here. Perhaps there are some really entitled gamers involved. Perhaps there are even some misogynistic gamers letting that guide their views. But the majority? I am certain they are just long term fans of the franchise that were hoping for the next big release, and were instead given something that simply doesn’t fit with their needs or gaming habits. Unless someone absolutely fits into the extreme end of things though (in which the negative and problematic thought processes of course should be tackled), there is absolutely no need for arguments here.

Whether PC, console or mobile, we are all gamers. Sometimes we’ll be excited about releases, sometimes we’ll be disappointed. Diablo Immortal may not be what many were hoping for, but it will likely be a success for Blizzard that leads new fans to the franchise. Whether they then play the core games too or not doesn’t matter. What matters is it’s another way for Blizzard to survive as a business and keep giving us the games that we all want, on the platforms that we want, even if it takes a little longer than we’d like sometimes. Enjoy what we have, and look forward to the projects that interest us.

Gaming is supposed to be fun. It just feels like we sometimes forget that.

 

3 comments

  1. I thought the initial reaction to Diablo Immortal was funny. Like with most things, it got out of hand after a while. When news begins to trend on the internet people start to jump in to attract clicks for their channels/sites.

    The “don’t you have phones” remark reminded me of the time the Microsoft guy told people to play on a 360, if they don’t want a new console that is always online. I feel bad for the Blizzard guy though. Being forced to go up on stage and deliver bad news sucks. I think he tried to make a funny remark and it backfired.

    Nothing wrong with mobile spin-offs. Fire Emblem for example didn’t get any hate when they released Heroes. In hindsight they should have announced Immortal to the press. Blizzcon is not the place for that. The crowd are PC hardcore fans and they have been starved of Diablo content for a while. Before the event the rumour mill hinted at a new expansion or sequel. A mobile game is not going to meet those expectations.

    1. Exactly. It was never going to go down well, and really they should have probably scrapped the announcement in terms of the con. There are plenty of fun mobiel games out there, whether you want a purely casual experience or a spin-off from something else, it’s just unfortunate that this wasn’t what was expected. I’m hoping that how OTT the reactions went will calm down now though. Out of hand is right, and there was really no need.

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