Blizzard and NetEase’s partnership with Diablo Immortal has not gone over well with fans of the series. Hated from its announcement, the new mobile RPG has been abandoned by major fans over its predatory microtransactions. However, Blizzard president Mike Ybarra believes that the heavy criticism is unfair.
Mike Ybarra defends Diablo Immortal
In an interview with LA Times, Ybarra discussed the heavy backlash to Blizzard’s mobile release. Over the past month, the game has become the most hated game in the developer’s entire catalogue. Despite this, the game still enjoys huge sales from millions of mobile gamers.
Ybarra claims that Immortal’s monetisation is less egregious than many claim it is. The Blizzard president argued that most of the game is still completely free to those who don’t wish to spend any money on the title.
“When we think about monetization, at the very highest level it was, ‘How do we give a free ‘Diablo’ experience to hundreds of millions of people, where they can literally do 99.5 per cent of everything in the game?’” he asked. “The philosophy was always to lead with great gameplay and make sure that hundreds of millions of people can go through the whole campaign without any costs. From that standpoint, I feel really good about it as an introduction to ‘Diablo.’”
The Blizzard president believes that “monetization comes in at the end game” so it’s fine. However, with most of the game’s content trapped in pay-to-win end game battles, the game feels even worse. Essentially, the game gets you invested. Then you spend more money to beat it.
More Blizzard games are coming to mobile
In the interview, Ybarra teased that more Blizzard games will make their way to mobile in the future. It wasn’t stated if these titles will be ports of existing games or new games like Immortal, but more titles are coming soon.
The Blizzard president reconciled that “just releasing games on PC doesn’t serve people playing games today”. Therefore, more games are designed for consoles and mobile devices. This makes sure that everyone can play.
Hopefully, this means we’ll be able to enjoy games like Overwatch, Starcraft and World of Warcraft on mobile! On the other hand, it could just mean more disappointments like Diablo Immortal.