The announcement of Diablo Immortal for mobile devices was undoubtedly the story of the week, between the hugely negative response from the community and the subsequent effect on Activision Blizzard’s stock.
During the post-financial report earnings call, newly appointed Blizzard president J. Allen Brack addressed the topic with a lengthy statement. He made it very clear that Blizzard won’t release the game until it meets the company’s and the community’s ‘very high standards’ so that it can be an excellent experience right away.
We have seen some interesting reaction to the announcement. I think that it’s clear that there are a lot of players who are eager for more Diablo PC and console content. I think that came through loud and clear from BlizzCon and frankly, we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so much about that franchise. The commitment and the engagement of our community is, I think, one of the things that makes Blizzard very special. It’s something that we really appreciate, and we like to hear the things that they articulate as to what they want to hear next and what we can do better, frankly.
Diablo is an important tent pole franchise for Blizzard Entertainment, and we have multiple teams working on multiple different projects for the Diablo community. We feel that Diablo Immortal is going to deliver a very authentic Diablo experience, and we’re not going to compromise on that mission. Launching the game is only going to be the beginning. There’s going to be ongoing support, and we’re only going to release the game when we feel like it is meeting the community’s very high standards. In the end, Diablo Immortal is going to fulfill that, and we think that people are going to experience it, and we think that they’re going to love it.
Regarding I think the opportunity for Diablo and specifically on mobile, I think it is a very significant opportunity. Mobile is the biggest platform in gaming today. And taking a game like mobile onto that platform in a way that is really reflecting our quality standards I think can really open that franchise and other franchises to a global audience, including people who don’t have PCs, or especially in China where Blizzard is a very, very strong western brand.
Regarding the timing, that’s something that we’ll talk about as we go forward. It is very important that we release the game and it is an excellent, excellent experience when it is released.
While this is certainly good news as a whole, it also likely means Diablo Immortal may be delayed if necessary. Blizzard was already famous for taking its time with every project and in this case, they’ll be even more cautious after the backlash received at BlizzCon 2018.