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DeanBeat: A dust-up over Diablo: Immortal has far-reaching consequences

For Blizzard Entertainment came dust-up over the announcement of the mobile game Diablo: Immortal in a bad time. Our review…

For Blizzard Entertainment came dust-up over the announcement of the mobile game Diablo: Immortal in a bad time. Our review editor Mike Minotti was there at the BlizzCon Fan Event, where Blizzard’s founder Mike Morhaime went on stage for the last time to introduce J. Allen Brack, the new president.

Brack’s warm introduction of Morhaime was intended to convey continuity and confidence in the future. The Keynote century started well enough, as Brack was the long-standing producer of World of Warcraft, Blizzard’s biggest game. But it ended in a PR disaster when Blizzard closed the show without mentioning an upcoming Diablo PC / console game. Instead, it turned out Diablo: Immortal.

A fan summarized the reaction when he asked, “Is it an out-of-season April Fool’s joke?”

It puts a bit of a blow on Brack’s first true interaction with fans as president of the legendary fan-centered, quality-driven gaming company. And it’s not like it’s all his fault, because he’s just one of the messengers.

The hardcore fans who traveled to BlizzCon to hear about the next department of Diablo were dumbfounded. Had Blizzard sold them out and chose to instead build a dirty mobile game that could earn money with greedy small microtransactions? That reaction had so much fear in it, and it was perhaps the worst backlash that Blizzard had ever met from its former adorable fans.

Speculation occurred quickly to feed this meme as fans said the game was a reskin of a NetEase Diablo clone or that NetEase did the game and not Blizzard . A negative fan reaction began to spread, and Diablo: Immortal trailer on YouTube had 560,000 dislike 21,000 likes. In turn, Activision Blizzard’s share price fell due to fanatic impressions, which decreased billions of dollars in market value.

It did not help Kotaku reported on Monday, incorrectly according to Blizzard, as Blizzard founder Allen Adham had prepared a video of Diablo 4 and then shaken it at the last minute and left only the mobile game. Kotaku backtracked, saying that the video existed but it could never have been revealed for a view on BlizzCon.

By issuing his denial about the Diablo 4 story, Blizzard was upset, which was a kind of confirmation that the message was being unscrewed. It was wise, because it never pays to tell someone whose feelings are wounded that they are wrong and they should not be hurt.

“First, we want to mention that we definitely belong to our society,” said the company. To assure fans: “We continue to have different groups working with several unannounced Diablo projects, and we are looking forward to announce when time is right.”

Electronic Arts felt the same backlash when announcing a new Command & Conquer game, and it turned out it was a mobile game instead of a hardcore PC game that the old series was.

The gamer uprising became more intrusive because the offending players accused game journalists of influencing them and marking them “played players.” They thought the game journalists should have synchronized with the fans, but instead, these paid shills betrayed the company’s stupid move. (A game journalist agreed with the players saying the game journalists were wrong). I took some of this heat on Twitter.

Mobile Games Offense

Above: Monks in Diablo: Immortal.

Image Credit: Blizzard

We should stop here and note that it’s not a betrayal to create a mobile game. Mobile games reach wider audience groups, and they serve the purpose of bringing non-players a week. Mobile games are also a $ 70 billion company, or about half of the total game market of $ 139 billion. It’s stupid not to do mobile games, as all major video game companies have realized. Why? Because big mobile hits can generate huge revenue, because the world has four billion mobile phone users.

These games also cost a lot less to do, and they can be done faster than PC or console games. It’s no surprise when Diablo: Immortal could be announced and come out before a PC version of Diablo 4 gets announced. Also for some reason, angry players assumed that Blizzard did not work on a new PC-based Diablo game, and that they got a mobile game instead.

Here is the case. If Blizzard did a good mobile game, it could print money, like how Supercell does with Clash Royale or Niantic doing with Pokemon Go. And it can use the money to make all the PC games it wants. (I have run this theory of Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick, and he did not agree). The big point here is to embrace available gaming platforms as mobile will boost the gaming market, make all games more profitable and result in more available capital and better games for hardcore players.

The negative reaction was based on another misconception: Real players do not play mobile games. In fact, mobile games are becoming increasingly popular among hardcore players. Razer is focused on his Razer Phone 2 with hardcore fans.

Then we have this myth that Blizzard players do not like mobile games, especially the microtransactional, freely playable games. Hello Have you heard of Blizzard’s Hearthstone, which has been downloaded more than 100 times, both on the computer and on the mobile. By the way, our review editor Mike Minotti Diablo: Immortal prototype, and he was pleased with it.

And Diablo Comes To The Computer

Above: Diablo Immortal

Image Credit: Blizzard

Let’s also admit that Blizzard does Diablo 4, or something like that. Allen Adham, founder of Blizzard, had left the company in 2004 and returned in 2016. He works with Diablo, and he established Blizzard’s maniacal focus on quality. Do we really think he will crush Diablo on the computer and leave the fans with just a fooled mobile game?

He is not kind of guy sending a really bad game and he came out saying Blizzard had not forgotten the core Diablo fans. Knowing what I know about him I do not think he would go on stage to make the fans happy by saying that Diablo 4 comes when it’s quite possible that Diablo 4 will get through the wing before it sees the light of day – He wants to make the game fun. Now if the fans do not trust a guy like this to do directly at the Diablo franchise, I do not know who to trust.

Wall Street’s fury?

This incident continued during the redemption call on Thursday when Blizzard executives like Brack had to question Diablo: Immortal. Yes, managers at one of the game’s successful businesses have had to deal with the fans on their carefully orchestrated fan event.

“Last week, Blizzard announced Diablo: Immortal, which will bring this tent pole to a mobile audience in both East and West,” said Collist Coddy Johnson, chief secretary at Activision Blizzard during the analyst’s talks on Thursday. “While the fan response slowed down to the message, the players’ practical experience of this content confirmed what we think, which is that Diablo mobile will be a very popular game when released and players around the world will love it.”

On the analyst’s conversation, Brack must also respond directly to an analyst who would like to hear more about Diablo: Immortal.

Over: Hearthstone scene at Blizzcon 2018. [19659017] Image Credit: Mike Minotti

“So we have seen an interesting response to the message. I think it’s obvious that There are many players who are keen on more Diablo PC and console content, “Brack responded. “I think it came through loud and clear from BlizzCon. And frankly, we feel lucky to have a society that cares so much about that franchise. Our commitment and dedication are, in my opinion, one of the things that make Blizzard very special . That’s something we really appreciate and we like to hear the things they’re saying about what they want to hear next and what we can do better, sincerely. “

He added:” We feel that Diablo Immortal will deliver a very authentic Diablo experience, and we will not compromise on that mission. Starting the game will only be the beginning. There will be ongoing support and we will only let go of the game when we feel it meets the very high demands of the Community. In the end, Diablo Immortal will fulfill it, and we believe that people will experience it, and we think they will love it. “

And he said,” As far as I consider possible one to Diablo and especially on mobile, I think it’s a very big opportunity. Mobile is the biggest platform in game today. And taking a game like mobile on that platform in a way that really reflects our quality standards that I think can really open a lot – it can open that franchise and other franchises to a global audience, including people who do not have computers, or especially in China there Blizzard is a very strong Western brand.

Above: J. Allen Brack on the Stage at BlizzCon 2018

After reporting the result with a forecast that fell slightly after the expectations of the vacation quarter, Activision fell Blizzard’s share 8 percent and lost a further billion dollars valued by market value.

As a result of all uprising, Macquarie analyst Ben Schachter wrote, “Blizzard is famous for its high quality content, content that often takes quite some time to develop. Now, as it tries to extend its appeal to mobile and larger audiences, we consider that there are cultural challenges, leadership changes and scheduling issues that affect the franchise. It must find a way to faster iterate, grow its audience and platforms, all while retaining its reputation for quality and not releasing a game before it’s ready. “

It’s a good analysis, but it means putting pressure on Blizzard’s leadership to rush out things to make fans and investors happier. That’s exactly the right thing to do.

I do not know who’s crazier here. The fans or investors. But it’s all the worries that can hurt much of one of the finest companies in video games. I would hate seeing bad results from this fight. We should let Blizzard be Blizzard.

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