Blizzard: Hold my beer!
Just when we thought that Blizzard could do no wrong, it seems like they may have took a major misstep during the closing part of their opening ceremony when announcing Diablo Immortal.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past month, Diablo Immortal is a mobile version of Diablo that takes place between D2 and D3, and NO, that isn’t a typo. It’s a new Diablo game that is as of now, only slated for mobile platforms.
The last Diablo game came out a little over 6 years ago, and fans have been itching for a new game in the franchise. But sadly, this isn’t the news they (or we) were asking for. That’s not to say it’s not a neat idea, with the world we live in today and all, it just seems that the strategy wasn’t thoroughly thought out before execution. Granted, we have plenty of mobile consoles – mostly in the Nintendo realm – but the problem is that Blizzard has almost exclusively billed themselves as a PC developer up until hit game Overwatch. Their fan base consists mostly of PC gamers, and may not be the “next generation” demographic that they are looking to appease.
So many games have gone mobile lately, for a quick cash grab, such as C&C Rivals, Dungeon Keeper, etc. with microtransactions and paywalls. It’s perfectly reasonable for fans to be weary of an announcement like this, where one of their favorite franchises is being shifted to a mobile game. We already have been bombarded with ‘Pay to Win’ and ‘Loot boxes’ in so many of our favorite titles. We’ve also seen great games ruined by this business model, such as Battlefront 2. Ultimately, we’d hate to see a poor implementation of this game being brought to mobile,
Another concern is whether or not Diablo Immortal will do the series justice, or if it’s going to be a sandwiched in story that seems non-canon and out of place. Blizzard states that this will be the full Diablo experience, and fans will get the same experience if not better than previous Diablo games. Blizzard does tend to deliver on their promises, so here’s to hoping they’re right.
During the Q&A, Blizzard made it a point to mention that they have multiple Diablo Projects in the works, and this is just one of the many things in the pipeline, but in all honesty that is something they should have opened with. They could have positioned Diablo Immortal as “Something to hold fans over until the new game comes out”. But waiting for the Q&A to drop that information may have been a little too late, as the outrage was already fuming across the Internet.
At one point during the Q&A, someone asked if they planned on porting it over to PC, to which the crowd boo’d when Blizzard told everyone a big giant “Nope”. Wyatt then went on to respond with “Do you guys not have phones?”.
Why yes, most of us have phones but some of us don’t use it for much outside of casual web browsing. I personally am not looking to drop $600+ on a new phone that will run this game. Call me cheap, or whatever you like. But I’d rather use that $600+ towards a new gaming PC or buying a few consoles, than buying a phone where I check the time and Facebook Messenger a few times a day.
The critics on the Internet are somewhat divided on the issue. Some are saying that fans are acting rude and entitled, and some journalists have even gone as far as to start blaming toxic masculinity for the hate brought upon the game.
Here's a hot-take:
The people that bash on mobile gaming are an offshoot of toxic masculinity. They get off on hating something that they've traditionally associated with a heavily female audience.
— WillPowers™ (@WillJPowers) November 2, 2018
Others, think fans are justified in their frustrations and anger over this announcement, because Blizzard built up the hype by stating they were planning on a Diablo announcement and this isn’t what they hoped for.
Jason Schreier handled the situation the best out of everyone speaking out on the topic. He understands why the fans are made, and agrees that fans and consumers have the right to be upset. When it comes down to it, developers (specifically Blizzard here) won’t know what we want if we don’t voice our opinions in regards to it. But there’s a right way to voice your opinion. Screaming, acting like children… No one’s going to want to listen to you and it’s going to lessen your point.
This isn't "savagery" it's fucking obnoxious, embarrassing behavior. I get why people are mad, I really do, but you can be critical without being an asshole to people who spend their lives trying to entertain you. https://t.co/sWPNQnhsoG
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) November 2, 2018
I have to say though, Blizzard should have seen this coming. Like, that’s what a PR and marketing team is for. They have meetings to plan meetings about how they’re going to position products and brand messaging surrounding launches. They come up with reactive Q&A’s, press releases, statement, and all the material that packages this together as something we SHOULD want. I can’t imagine that they all sat around in a room, pat themselves on the back and said great job … While delivering this.
At the same time, I do believe that the people calling fans “entitled” for not liking the product are just as childish. People have the right to voice their grievances, regardless of how we feel on the topic. That’s pretty much what free speech is. Sure, they can say it. We don’t have to agree with them or disagree with them.
Now, before you get the pitchforks out for Blizzard (or for us) we do want to remind you that Blizzard DID indeed confirm that Diablo 4 is in development and that the game won’t be ready for some time. This means we probably won’t see any sneaks until Blizzcon 2019 at the earliest, if not at a much later date. What a lot of the Internet suggested was closing out the announcement with a remastered version of Diablo 2, since they are already doing the same thing with WarCraft 3. Something to wet our appetite, hold our attention, and keep that Diablo hype train chugging along strongly. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was already something on their product roadmap, seeing as their exact words were “Multiple Diablo projects in the works”.