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‘Diablo Immortal’ has reportedly earned $24 million since release

Two weeks , Blizzard’s has earned approximately $24 million for the , according to . In an estimate it shared with , the analytics firm said the free-to-play game was downloaded almost 8.5 million times over the same timeframe, with 26 percent of downloads originating in the US. The bulk of Blizzard’s revenue from Diablo Immortal has also come from America. To date, US players contributed about 43 percent of all the game’s earnings.

To put Immortal’s early financial success in context, Hearthstone, the only other mobile game Blizzard has , earned about $5 million in May. Despite the vocal backlash to Immortal’s monetization systems, it’s probably safe to say no one expected the game to fail out of the gate. Instead, the worry for many fans was a scenario where Immortal was so successful for Blizzard that it went on to inform how the studio monetizes its future games.

For the time being, that fear seems unfounded. Diablo franchise general manager Rod Fergusson recently would feature a different set of monetization systems than Immortal. “To be clear, D4 is a full-price game built for PC/PS/Xbox audiences,” he tweeted after the game’s recent showing at Microsoft’s recent Summer Game Fest . Separately, Blizzard announced this week Overwatch 2 .

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‘Diablo Immortal’ delayed indefinitely in China just before its planned release date

 was supposed to debut in China on June 23rd, but those who have been waiting for the game in the country will need to wait longer. NetEase, which co-developed the game with Blizzard, has pushed back the release date indefinitely. It that “the development team is making a number of optimization adjustments.”

However, there are other factors at play. NetEase found itself in the bad graces of China’s censors over a post on its Weibo social media service that seemingly referenced Winnie the Pooh, according to the . The cartoon character is used to mock Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In the wake of a screenshot of the post (which read “why hasn’t the bear stepped down?”) gaining traction, the official Diablo Immortal Weibo account was banned from posting anything. Discussions related to the post were also wiped from the service.

Currently, Diablo Immortal does not have a release date in China, though NetEase still expects to ship the game in the country. It promised players an “exclusive thank-you package containing legendary equipment” as a makegood for the delay.

The PC and mobile title debuted in other territories this month. According to reports, it raked in in two weeks as a result of its aggressive approach to monetization. China is the biggest gaming market on the planet and not being able to release Diablo Immortal there would likely have a severe impact on the game’s expected revenues. NetEase declined to comment to the Financial Times. Engadget has contacted Blizzard for comment.

It’s not the first time a game developer has run into issues with Chinese regulators over a Winnie the Pooh reference. Publisher Indievent to sell Devotion in China, leading it to cut ties with developer Red Candle Games, which included a blatant dig at Xi in the game itself. The studio, which is based in Taiwan, later a DRM-free version of Devotion on its own storefront.

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Blizzard claims it won’t monetize ‘Diablo IV’ like ‘Diablo Immortal’

Diablo IV will feature a different set of monetization systems than those found in Diablo Immortal, according to Blizzard. “To be clear, D4 is a full-price game built for PC/PS/Xbox audiences,” said Diablo franchise general manager Rod Fergusson following the game’s latest showing during Microsoft’s Summer Game Fest presentation on Sunday. “We are committed to delivering an incredible breadth of content after launch, for years to come, anchored around optional cosmetic items and full story-driven expansions.”

Blizzard has similarly promised to support the recently released Immortal for a while but is doing so through an in-game marketplace where players can purchase optional cosmetics, an “empowered” battle pass and “eternal orbs,” a premium currency that can be exchanged for the game’s controversial “legendary” crests. The consensus among the gaming community is that Immortal features some of the most aggressive and predatory monetization systems found in a Blizzard game to date. One estimate suggests it would take someone 10 years or $110,000 to acquire enough “legendary gems” to equip their character with the best possible gear. Since the release of Immortal, Diablo fans have been worried that Blizzard would employ a similar set of monetization systems in Diablo 4 when that game comes out in 2023.

However, Fergusson’s statement suggests Diablo IV will be closer to Diablo III than Immortal. The former did not feature microtransactions – though it launched with a controversial in-game auction house – and Blizzard went on to support the title with a $40 expansion in 2014 and a $15 DLC in 2017 that added Diablo 2’s necromancer class to the game. Still, reading through Fergusson’s Twitter replies, you see a lot of fans expressing concern that even the mention of cosmetics could imply more microtransactions than Blizzard is suggesting. Neither Fergusson nor Diablo community lead Adam Fletcher mentioned a paid battle pass, but that’s one way Blizzard could make some cosmetics obtainable since many games, including Immortal, incorporate them as a completion reward.

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‘Diablo IV’ lands in 2023 with Necromancers and an open world

Given that Microsoft will soon be the new owner of Blizzard Activision, there was bound to be some kind of Diablo announcement at its Summer Game Fest showcase. While we knew a direct sequel was coming as far back as November 2019, we got yet another deeper look at Diablo IV, which was once pushed back… indefinitely. Now expect to see it land sometime in 2023. 

The developers are promising a different style of Diablo, with open-world exploration, more substantial character customization and what appears to be the ability to switch playstyle with different skills. 

If players clear out the evil from certain areas, and they’ll turn into friendlier places for trade and everything that isn’t hacking away at monsters. Expect to see specific zones for PvP duels, and a kind of adaptive difficulty where talented players will get marked out in the open world.

For anyone not quite taken by the mobile-centric Diablo Immortal, it can’t come soon enough. There hasn’t been a new Diablo game in 10 years. If you have been waiting that long, beta pre-registration is now open here.

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Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 delayed amid another Blizzard executive shake-up

Two of Blizzard’s big upcoming titles have been hit with delays. During its most recent financial earnings call with investors, Activision Blizzard announced that both Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2 have been delayed. In addition, the company announced that Jen Oneal will be leaving her position as co-leader of Blizzard at the end of the year, meaning Mike Ybarra will be the sole leader of Blizzard.

A longer wait for two heavy hitters

The announcement of these delays for Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2 has got to sting for the fans who were looking forward to them. Both games were announced at BlizzCon 2019, and though we’ve received various updates about the state of both games, the delay announced during Activision Blizzard’s call with investors seems to push both titles out of their 2022 release windows.

“While we are still planning to deliver a substantial amount of content from Blizzard next year, we are now planning for a later launch for Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 than originally envisaged,” Activision Blizzard said during its financial presentation.

“These are two of the most eagerly anticipated titles in the industry, and our teams have made great strides towards completion in recent quarters,” the company continued. “But we believe giving the teams some extra time to complete production and continue growing their creative resources to support the titles after launch will ensure that these releases delight and engage their communities for many years into the future.”

Later in the presentation (a transcript of which can be found on Activision Blizzard’s IR site), the company says it is “not planning for material contributions from Overwatch 2 or Diablo 4 in 2022.” That, as you may have already guessed, suggests that both games have been delayed to 2023 or possibly even beyond. Unfortunately, Blizzard didn’t give specific release dates or even release windows for either game outside of that statement.

These delays leave Blizzard without a major new release for 2022, at least for the time being. Diablo Immortal, a version of Diablo destined for smartphones, is currently in testing and should be launching in the first half of 2022, though that isn’t really what people expect when they think of Blizzard blockbusters.

It’s always possible that Blizzard has some yet-announced project to fill the gap between now and the releases of Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2, but it doesn’t seem likely. Instead, Blizzard may just fall back on maintaining the games it currently offers as work on Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2 continues, such as World of Warcraft and its Classic iteration, Hearthstone, and the original Overwatch.

Still more leadership changes at Blizzard

This batch of financial results also brought the news that Jen Oneal, current co-leader of Blizzard with Mike Ybarra, will be departing the company at the end of the year to focus on her position as a board member of Women in Games International. This will leave Ybarra as the sole leader of Blizzard in 2022 and presumably beyond.

“Jen has decided to leave the company at the end of the year, and we have agreed to support Jen in her involvement with WIGI by making a donation to WIGI in honor of Jen,” Activision Blizzard president and COO Daniel I. Alegre said during the call with investors. “In her remaining months for the company, given her commitment to this work, Jen will build the foundation of programs funded by the grant.”

Alegre added, “As such, Mike Ybarra will take on Jen’s leadership responsibilities. It is great to see how employees at our company are committed to bring about the positive changes in our industry and beyond, and our leadership team stands behind these efforts.”

Oneal was the leader of Vicarious Visions – an Activision Blizzard subsidiary – before being elevated to Blizzard co-leader alongside Mike Ybarra following the departure of J. Allen Brack. Oneal’s exit from Blizzard continues a long line of executive departures, many as a result of the sexual harassment and abuse scandal that has enveloped Activision Blizzard this year.

Other high-profile departures this year include Diablo 4 game director Luis Barriga, Diablo 4 lead designer Jesse McCree, and World of Warcraft designer Jonathan LeCraft, among others. All three of those exits came after the state of California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard regarding sexual harassment complaints. In addition, earlier in the year, Overwatch and Overwatch 2 director Jeff Kaplan left the company, though he did so before the DFEH’s lawsuit came to light.

With these departures in mind, it becomes easier to understand why Blizzard may need more time to complete Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2. Both games have seen high-level employee shakeups in recent months, which likely does not lend to a brisk development schedule. We’ll let you know when Blizzard announces firm release dates for both titles, but given Activision Blizzard’s messaging in this call with investors, we’ll probably be waiting a while for new details.



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Overwatch 2, Diablo 4 Delayed As Blizzard Leadership Shifts

Blizzard Entertainment announced delays for Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 during an earnings call earlier today. The company presented a slide that provided an update on its creative pipeline, which explained that content planned for next year would need “more development time to reach its full potential” due to changes in “key creative roles.”

Diablo IV and Overwatch 2 delayed pic.twitter.com/4pr9c0OEdz

— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) November 2, 2021

“These are two of the most eagerly anticipated titles in the industry, and our teams have made great strides toward completion in recent quarters,” reads the slide. “But we believe giving the teams some extra time to complete production and continue growing their creative resources to support the titles after launch will ensure that these releases delight and engage their communities for many years in the future.”

Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 didn’t have definitive release dates. However, fans still had hope that the games would release sometime during 2022. In fact, the presentation mentioned that recent changes would mostly affect content for “next year,” so it’s possible that the two titles were slated for a 2022 release before the Activision Blizzard shake-up. At this point, the games will likely be in development until 2023.

It’s unclear what leadership shifts the company was referring to in its announcement. However, Jenn Oneal also said she was stepping down from her position as co-leader in a blog post on the company website the same day. She will transition into a new position before leaving the company at the end of the year. That leaves Mike Ybarra as the sole lead at a company already in hot water for its toxic company culture.

“I am doing this not because I am without hope for Blizzard,” Oneal wrote in her goodbye. “I’m inspired by the passion of everyone here, working toward meaningful, lasting change with their whole hearts. This energy has inspired me to step out and explore how I can do more to have games and diversity intersect, and hopefully make a broader industry impact that will benefit Blizzard (and other studios) as well.”

Blizzard reps didn’t specify when fans could expect to see more content related to Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4. Other leadership doesn’t seem to have publicly acknowledged Oneal’s imminent departure.

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Diablo 4: Release Date, Trailer, Gameplay, and More

After upsetting fans at BlizzCon 2018 with the announcement of Diablo Immortal, Blizzard came to BlizzCon 2019 prepared to show off Diablo 4. Since then, we’ve seen a few trailers, some concept art, and a couple of lengthy gameplay demos. BlizzCon 2021 offered some more info, including a look at a new class, but we’re still left waiting on some key details regarding the game. There’s not an official release date yet, and Blizzard said the new title needs plenty of development time before hitting the market.

Although it might not land on our hard drives for several years, we already know a lot about Diablo 4. We’ve rounded up all the confirmed facts so far — from playable classes and stat changes to skill trees and enemies — to help make the wait for Diablo 4 a bit less painful.

Further reading

Release date

As of BlizzCon 2021, the only official statement on when Diablo 4 will hit the market is that it will not be this year. That leaves the earliest we can expect the game as sometime in 2022, probably later in the year so they can make a big announcement at the next BlizzCon event. It was announced that the next Blizzconline event will be held sometime in early 2022, but no more details than that have been given yet. Perhaps this will be an opportunity to get an update on the release window.

Platforms

A knight on horseback on the edge of a cliff.

Currently, we know that we can expect a PC, PS4, and Xbox One release for Diablo 4. Now that news has been shared that the game is pushed to 2022 at the earliest, it is a fairly safe bet to assume that it will also be released with a PS5 and Xbox Series X version as well. Diablo 3 did eventually make it onto the Nintendo Switch, but it is unclear if this new entry will be able to run on that hardware.

Trailer

The first glimpse we got of Diablo 4 came with the official trailer back in 2019. Not much is known about the story just yet, however. It seems like Lilith will be making a return, although we’re not sure what exactly her role will be. There’s no doubt she’ll be one of the bosses, but whether or not she is heavily ingrained in the narrative remains to be seen. We also know that the game will take place many years after Diablo 3 and focus more on the world of Sanctuary and its people.

Sanctuary will have five regions to explore, at least that we know of so far, including Fractured Peaks, Dry Steppes, Hawezar, Scosglen, and Kehjistan. Each one is a different environment type — snow, desert, swamp, beach, and ruins, respectively.

Multiplayer

Blizzard is adamant that Diablo 4 is not an MMORPG despite leaning heavily into an always-online format. You’ll find other players hunkered down in towns and trekking across the open world from quest to quest, but key sections — such as dungeons and instanced quests — will be populated by just you and your party. We don’t know any details on cross-play yet, but Blizzard has confirmed that online and local co-op are priorities for the game. When playing online, the enemy difficulty will scale based on the level of your team. The hope is that this will let you play with your friends regardless of their level.

Game Director Luis Barriga said, “We find that the game stops feeling like Diablo and the world feels less dangerous when you see other players too often or in too high numbers.” That being said, teaming up with other players will be crucial while tackling some of the open-world events that feature massive bosses and hordes of enemies — facing them alone is a foolish tactic.

Diablo 4 will have five playable classes, four of which have already been announced — Barbarian, Sorceress, Rogue, and Druid. Blizzard has shared extensive gameplay footage of all four, showcasing a return to the dark, brooding graphics of Diablo 2. The action looks just as visceral as ever, regardless of your preferred class. You can check out all the gameplay trailers below:

Barbarian Gameplay

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DFgQ81vzGg

Sorceress Gameplay

Rogue Gameplay

Druid Gameplay

Ancient items have been replaced in Diablo 4. Players will instead earn consumable items that let them upgrade non-Legendary weapons to Legendary status. The idea is to allow players to keep playing with a weapon they like without having to ditch it for a more powerful item that may offer a different playstyle or aesthetic.

Blizzard is also reworking the inventory system in the hopes that you won’t have to juggle items around and try to free up extra space.

In their latest quarterly update, Blizzard also gave details on how character customization will work in Diablo 4. According to the post, players will be able to customize their skin tone, hair, tattoos, and more. While that’s all nice, we all know that the majority of the time we won’t be able to notice these finer details from the high-angle camera, plus it will be covered up by armor most of the time. Thankfully armor dyes are also going to be included, letting us rep our favorite colors. These options will be on full display during the game’s in-game cutscenes that highlight your created character.

Finally, we learned some new information about how stats and skill trees will work. Blizzard showed off a massive new skill tree for players to navigate as they level up their characters. Included on the tree are nodes that will unlock new skills, skill enhancements, and Passive Points — which can be spent to acquire other passive skills and attributes. According to Blizzard, you’ll only be able to unlock around 40% of the tree with any given character, meaning you’ll need to carefully plan your build before assigning points at each level. This also means no two players will share the same stats, and there’s a wide degree of flexibility built into the system.

Sorceresses have a second system to deal with beyond the skill tree, called the Enchantment System. This feature allows them to turn an active ability into a passive skill — instead of slotting it into the action bar, you’ll place it in the Enchantment Slot. This will then grant you a new passive skill or attribute boost, although you’ll no longer be able to use the active spell during combat.

Three new stats have also been revealed by Blizzard:

  • Angelic Power: Impacts length of beneficial effects on self
  • Ancestral Power: Impacts the chance of conferring a status effect
  • Demonic Power: Impacts length of negative effects on enemies

In terms of enemies, Blizzard has described them as being part of “families.” What that means for gameplay is that certain families of enemies, of which they have named just three — cultists, drowned, and cannibals — will share combat styles. For example, the cannibal family will focus on a variety of melee types, but with no distance attackers.

If PvP is more your thing, you’ll want to head to specific areas called the Fields of Hatred. These zones are where no one is safe and anyone can fight and kill any other player. Why go here, aside from testing your character against others? The monsters here will drop items called Shards of Hatred. If you manage to bring these to an altar and cleanse them, you can trade them in for unique items only purchasable with them. But if you die before you can cash them in, you lose them all.

DLC

With the game still so far off, it would be strange to hear any details on post-launch content. That being said, it is almost a guarantee that Diablo 4 will enjoy similar expansions as its predecessor. Now campaign quests, biomes, classes, and bosses are all likely to show up in the game’s future, but at least for now, we’ll have to wait until the game is closer to being completed to hear about the plans for the game.

Pre-order

Again, no release date is set for Diablo 4, so no pre-order information is available. Blizzard is very good about making sure to give players plenty of time to pre-order its titles, often with many editions offering special bonuses, so don’t worry about this game’s release slipping under the radar.

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‘Diablo II: Resurrected’ open beta begins on August 20th

In the midst of a that has engulfed the company in turmoil, Blizzard will give Diablo II fans the chance to play the game’s during two separate early access weekends. The first of those will begin on August 13th at 1PM ET. It will be open to those who pre-ordered Diablo II: Resurrected or the Diablo Prime Evil Collection, which includes both the remaster and Diablo 3, on PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5 and PS4.

Diablo II Resurrected beta timing

Blizzard Entertainment

If you fall into that camp, you’ll have until August 17th at 1PM ET to play through Act I and II of the story as the Amazon, Barbarian, Druid, Paladin or Sorceress. What’s more, this time around, Blizzard will allow you to play with up to seven other players, with support for cross-progression enabled. Just note that during the early access weekend, that feature will only work on platforms where you’ve pre-ordered the game.

One week later, starting on August 20th at 1PM ET, Blizzard will open the beta to anyone who wants to take part. At that point, you’ll have until the 23rd to see the work the studio has done to update its beloved action RPG. Unfortunately, neither beta will be available to check out on the Nintendo Switch. And if you want to see how the Assassin and Necromancer play in the remaster, you will also have to wait until the game’s date.

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Diablo II Resurrected open beta dates and details revealed

The release date for Diablo II Resurrected is quickly approaching, but Blizzard will be hosting a pair of beta tests before the full game arrives. The first is an early access test that will only be available to those who pre-ordered the game, while the second is an open beta test that anyone can participate in. Today, Blizzard confirmed the dates for these beta tests and revealed details about each of them.

The early access beta will be taking place this weekend, kicking off on Friday, August 13th for PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, and PS4 players (sadly, no Nintendo Switch) who pre-ordered Diablo II Resurrected or the Diablo Prime Evil Collection. The beta will begin at 10 AM PDT, though you can see the start time for your specific time zone in the image below. The early access beta will run until Tuesday, August 17th, at 10 AM PDT.

The open beta will kick off on the same platforms a few days later, running from Friday, August 20th at 10 AM PDT to Monday, August 23rd at 10 AM PDT. This beta is free for anyone on the supported platforms listed above to participate in, regardless of pre-order status. Once again, you can check the image below for regional start times.

This will be a multiplayer beta, so you’ll be able to link up with friends, but like the technical alpha we saw earlier in the year, progression through the story will be limited to just Acts 1 and 2. However, there will be two new classes to play this time around, as Blizzard has added the Paladin and the Druid to these betas. They’ll be joining the Barbarian, Sorceress, and Amazon, the three classes available during the technical alpha. Sorry, Necromancer and Assassin fans, but it looks like you’ll need to wait for the full game to play as your class of choice.

Blizzard has put together a lengthy FAQ about these betas, and that can be found over on the company’s news site. Diablo II Resurrected is out on Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4 on September 23rd, 2021.

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Diablo Immortal delayed: Blizzard explains why

It’s been a while since we last heard from Diablo Immortal, but along with its most recent financial report, Blizzard shared some news on the game. Unfortunately, the news isn’t great for people who have been looking forward to Diablo Immortal, as Blizzard has decided to delay it. The delay seems fairly significant too, but Blizzard did share details on how it will utilize the extra time it now has to work on Diablo Immortal.

In a post to its website, Blizzard announced that Diablo Immortal has been delayed to the first half of 2022. Originally, the game was slated to launch sometime this year, though Blizzard’s release window never got more specific than that. With that in mind, it’s difficult to know how long this delay actually is – it could be anything from a few months to somewhere closer to a year.

In any case, Blizzard today said that it will take this time to build out both the PvE and PvP content in the game. On the PvE front, we’ll see 8-man raids added to the Helliquary system, with bosses designed around having those 8-man teams take them on. In addition, blizzard said that it will also be tweaking Bounties to be “more engaging and fruitful,” along will changing Challenge Rifts to drop upgrade materials that can’t be found anywhere else in the game.

On the PvP side, Blizzard says that it will continue to tweak Battlegrounds and build out the clan-based Cycle of Strife PvP system that was first introduced in the closed alpha. We’ll also see Diablo Immortal get controller support, along with some more features centered around character possession. Finally, if you hated the idea of the weekly XP cap that was added in closed alpha, the good news is that it’s being changed to a global XP cap that increases over time. So, while there will still be an XP cap, Blizzard says that it’ll allow players to be more flexible with how and when they earn XP.

Diablo Immortal has a lot to prove because its announcement was anything but the hype-filled event that Blizzard reveals usually are. There are a lot of Diablo fans out there who are skeptical that Diablo Immortal will be worth their time, so Blizzard certainly has its work cut out for it as it attempts to improve the game further during this delay.

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