Blizzard Entertainment, the studio behind beloved IPs such as Warcraft and Diablo, has become the perfect example of how not to handle public outcry following the reveal of “Diablo Immortal” during Blizzcon 2018. Fans crowded the halls of Blizzard’s biggest event of the year, with the eyes of many glistening with hope for a new Diablo game. Surely this will be amazing, as Blizzard made the grand finale of the whole event announcement for just that. Turns out, all those expectations were crushed as Blizzard announced Diablo Immortal, a mobile game soon to be available only for Android and iOs. The reception for the news has not been great, to say the least.
Why the hate for mobile games?
The problem with Diablo Immortal is not that it is a mobile game, but the fact that it was the final announcement for the event, a spot typically assigned to some of the biggest reveals. While Blizzard seemed to have a misguided idea that a Diablo mobile is just what fans want, nothing could be further from the truth. Discovering that the grand revelation was nothing but just a mobile game, the fans attending the event felt cheated. Especially since, as it turns out, this meant there were actually no big announcements throughout this entire Blizzcon. How Diablo’s team handled the Q and A session that followed only made matters worse.
The Q and A Session
Tension ran high as the crowd was given a chance to communicate with the developers, following the devastating reveal of Diablo Immortal. The dissatisfaction from the attendees were apparent which just made the Blizzard team members more nervous as they tried to steer the audience into being more receptive.
One fan asked whether the game would really be a mobile exclusive title or if it might ever see a PC release. The answer that there are currently no plans for a PC release was met with very loud booing to which the developers reacted pretty badly. “Do you guys not have phones?” is not the kind of response the audience needed to hear and it just went on to prove just how out of touch Blizzard is with Diablo’s fanbase. One particular member of the audience even wondered whether the whole thing was an “Off-season April Fools Joke”. Obviously, it wasn’t.
The crushing disappointment fans felt during the event slowly evolved into rage, which can only be expressed in this day and age though perpetual mockery over the internet. The Blizzard subreddit is currently filled up with memes mocking the developer who dropped the phone question. The biggest evidence of the outrage is in the official trailers for the game on Blizzard’s youtube channel, where each video only has a tiny percentage of likes compared to tens of thousands of dislikes. Over on reddit, there are claims that Blizzard has taken the liberty to delete certain negative comments and even dislikes from the youtube videos. While these at the time are only allegations, the discussions on Reddit seem pretty convincing that they are true.
Nevertheless, Blizzard seems to be on complete damage control mode and they are handling it in the worst way possible. The sad part is that Diablo Immortal could actually turn out to be a decent game, even if it is for mobile. But due to Blizzard’s mishandling of its announcement and everything following it, it is likely to be ignored and review bombed when it comes out. In the meantime let’s hope that Blizzard gets enough time before next year’s Blizzcon to reflect on the hole they’ve been digging themselves into, and work towards announcing Diablo 4 (for PC obviously) or at least a Diablo 2 remaster.