requested by retaliation (opens in new tab) Against microtransaction-powered mobile game Diablo Immortal, Blizzard’s Diablo boss Rod Fergusson took to Twitter to reassure fans that the upcoming Diablo 4 “is a full-price game” designed primarily for PC and consoles.
Diablo Immortal, released earlier this month, was not very well received by fans. The issue isn’t the game itself (although, frankly, I don’t think it’s very good), but the way it takes advantage of microtransactions. It’s not quite pay-to-win, but it is uncomfortably close (opens in new tab)and this has generated a backlash on sites like Metacritic: the user score for the iOS version is a lousy 0.6/10, while the PC version (opens in new tab) (which wasn’t listed last week but is now) is even lower, at 0.2.
Part of the problem is that Diablo Immortal was initially conceived as a mobile game, which is often more aggressive in its microtransactional tactics than games on other platforms. Diablo 4, on the other hand, is a premium, core game. But a product manager Job advertisement (opens in new tab) that surfaced over the weekend confirmed that it will have an in-game store, despite it being a full-price game.
“You will play a critical role in managing the Diablo 4 in-game store experience for millions of players worldwide,” the listing reads. “As this is a key component of Diablo 4’s seasonal content strategy, you will be the spearhead planning the content release schedule, configuring products using our in-house tools, and working with stakeholders across all disciplines to ensure updates regulars in the store each season goes well.”
This is actually nothing new: former Diablo 4 lead designer and now game director Joe Shely told streamer Quin69 (via IGN (opens in new tab)) in 2019 that players “will be able to acquire in-game cosmetics”. Nothing more has been said about it since, and more importantly, the statement was made long before the Diablo Immortal fuss.
Reactions to the listing in Diablo 4 subreddit (opens in new tab) were mixed. To some fans, the inclusion of an in-game store seems perfectly normal in this era of seasonal live service games; others feel that charging full price for a game and then asking for more is overkill, especially if Blizzard starts selling boosters or other items that can affect gameplay. Memories of the disastrous Diablo 3 auction house (opens in new tab), a pre-NFT attempt to allow players to buy and sell in-game items for real money, also continues to appear surprisingly large. It was enough to get Fergusson into the conversation.
“To be clear, D4 is a full-price game made for the PC/PS/Xbox audience,” he said. tweeted (opens in new tab). “We are committed to providing an incredible variety of content post-launch over the next few years, anchored in optional cosmetics and full story-based expansions. More details coming soon.”
Blizzard president Mike Ybarra retweeted Fergusson’s message, adding the note “100%”.
And global Diablo community leader Adam Fletcher shared a nearly identical message on his own account: “D4 is coming out as a full-price game built strictly for the PC/console audience. The game is massive and there will be tons of post-launch content for all players. Paid content is built around optional cosmetic items and eventually full expansions. We’ll be sharing more information soon!”
😀D4 is being released as a full-price game built strictly for the PC/console audience. The game is huge and there will be tons of content after launch for all players. Paid content is built around optional cosmetics and eventually full expansions. Soon we will share more information!June 12, 2022
The presence of an in-game store in Diablo 4 shouldn’t be worth noting, especially when we still don’t know exactly how it’s going to work or what it’s going to offer – it’s certainly not okay to pile microtransactions on top of a premium game price, but neither is must be so amazing. But it’s clearly notable for a not insignificant part of the player base, and the speed and depth of Blizzard’s reaction leaves no doubt that the studio wants to contain the situation before it gets ugly.
Blizzard announced yesterday that Diablo 4 will be released sometime in 2023 (opens in new tab), and also introduced the Necromancer, the fifth and final class to be included in the game at launch. It also confirmed that a closed beta (opens in new tab) it’s on the way.