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Diablo fans were momentarily sated earlier this month when the mobile-centric Diablo Immortal launched more than three years after it was announced. However, the game’s deep web of microtransactions has turned the response sour. It’s such a turnaround that an Activision-Blizzard executive has taken to Twitter to confirm that the upcoming Diablo IV won’t rely on the same monetization scheme.
The Diablo franchise has been a tentpole of gaming culture since the 90s, and I think that makes gamers a little protective of it. They don’t like to see a beloved series take a turn for the worse, and that’s what Immortal represented when it was unveiled in late 2018. Now that everyone’s fears are realized, there was some concern Diablo IV could take a similar path. After all, we know that in-app purchases for consumable items and currency are always a cash cow. Blizzard reported more than ten million installs of the game within days of release, and there are definitely “whales” out there who have spent thousands of dollars already.
The initial response to Diablo Immortal was positive when it launched — three and a half years after the infamous “Do you guys not have phones?” incident, people were sufficiently cooled off to give the game a shot, and it’s pretty good at first. It really does feel like a real Diablo game scaled back to work on a phone, but that illusion crumbles as you level up and can no longer progress without grinding for legendary gems to buff your character. I’ve seen people posting screenshots of their admittedly impressive characters only to find out it took hundreds of rifts (basically loot boxes packaged up as miniature dungeons) to get there. The community has made its distaste known, hammering the game on Metacritic to reach the lowest score in history.
Rod Fergusson, who heads the Diablo franchise at Activision-Blizzard, recently tweeted that Diablo IV will be a “full price” game designed for consoles and PC. It will have story-driven expansion content for years to come, as well as optional premium cosmetics. So, those two categories are the extent of the paid add-ons for Diablo IV. Assuming this is accurate and does not change before release, you won’t be expected to purchase premium in-game currency or items, which is all but mandatory in Diablo Immortal if you want to avoid hour upon hour of grinding.
To be clear, D4 is a full price game built for PC/PS/Xbox audiences. We are committed to delivering an incredible breadth of content after launch, for years to come, anchored around optional cosmetic items & full story driven expansions. More details soon. Necro blog tomorrow!
— Rod Fergusson (@RodFergusson) June 12, 2022
There’s no firm launch date for Diablo IV yet, but we now know it’ll be sometime in 2023. The game won’t come to mobile platforms like Immortal, but it will offer a much deeper and more customizable experience. You just have to be willing to pony up $60 for the game, but at least you’ll know you won’t be hounded for more money every time you reach a new level.