Is Blizzard Losing Touch with their Core Community?

In case you haven’t already heard, 2018’s BlizzCon has been a bit controversial. Especially for the core Diablo fanbase. Instead of announcing a new Diablo Game for PC, Blizzard decided to showcase a mobile version of Diablo for smartphones. Is this the latest sign that Blizzard is losing their core Community?

Diablo Fans Are Upset

Diablo 3 released to world back in 2012. It was followed by the Reaper of Souls expansion in 2014. Since that time there has been very little new content for fans of one of Blizzard’s most beloved franchises. Every year the Diablo faithful attend BlizzCon in hopes of being the first to witness something new.

This year they got it, but it wasn’t what they were expecting. Blizzard announced that they have partnered with NetEase to release a new Diablo Game for mobile devices. It takes place between the timelines of Diablo 2 and Diablo 3.

As the day progressed, fans had the opportunity to talk to Blizzard developers about Diablo Immortal. It quickly became apparent that many Gamers are concerned that this new title isn’t releasing on PC. One fan went as far as asking if this was some sort of “out of season April Fool’s joke”. Apparently he’s not alone in this sentiment.

Gamers attacked Blizzard on social media and voiced their thoughts about a mobile-only version of Diablo. Blizzard’s Gameplay Trailer for Immortal only has around 3,000 likes with over 100,000 dislikes.

Why All The Hate?

In a sense, you would think that being able to bring Diablo with you everywhere is a good thing. So why are fans so upset about Immortal’s announcement? As it turns out, the majority of Blizzard’s English-speaking fanbase are PC Gamers. They expect Blizzard to continue to be a PC-first company.

It appears that the real issue here is that Blizzard decided to unveil a mobile Game to the wrong audience. And they showcased it prominently in a situation where many were expecting a PC-based Diablo announcement.

“I don’t have an issue with them releasing D3 on mobile. I have an issue with them releasing it as some sort of marquee moment expecting pre-existing fans to fall over themselves for it.”-spexau via Reddit

“After months of teasing about several projects they whip out a mobile game to a audience comprised of PC gamers who, last I checked, f***** hate mobile phone games. Like, what did they expect? If this was in addition to D4 or D2 remastered, sure, Try something new and grab a new audience.”-yuzumi via Reddit

Not Their First Mistake

If this were Blizzard’s first misstep, then there probably wouldn’t be much to write about. However, this is one of several examples that suggest that they might be losing touch with their core Community.

Back in July, Blizzard updated their EULA to prevent Gamers from using Cloud Gaming Services with their titles. They went as far as banning offenders from playing these Games at all.

Officially they are doing this to prevent cheating in their Games and to preserve the Gaming experience. However Cloud Gaming is hardly cheating, and Cloud Gamers understand what they’re getting into. You would think that Blizzard could find a solution to this problem that doesn’t involve blocking a segment of their Community.

Without Cloud Gaming, many people can’t enjoy Blizzard Games at all. And even though Cloud Gamers make up a small segment of the Gaming market, they are expected to grow quickly as the technology advances. This problem has the potential to blow up in Blizzard’s face if changes aren’t made.

Soapbox

This is the part where I talk about how I personally feel about what’s going on. I’m actually not against a Diablo Game on mobile. On the plus side, it opens up the possibility of playing Diablo with my family in a new way. We all have smartphones, but we don’t have multiple Game Consoles or Gaming PC’s. So this can be intriguing.

With that said, I do understand why the PC Community is less than thrilled with the announcement of Diablo Immortal. Blizzard is choosing to tell a new part of the Diablo story through a medium that many don’t appreciate.

You could argue that Immortal isn’t the first time that Blizzard has released a major Game on mobile. Hearthstone is available on mobile, and it’s quite popular and successful. However with Hearthstone, playing on mobile is a choice. It isn’t the only way to enjoy the Game. That’s what separates it from Diablo Immortal.

I think that it’s also important to point out that it isn’t too late for Blizzard to absorb this feedback and come up with some answers. They obviously missed the mark in terms of satisfying their core PC audience. However, it’s not too late to find a way to deliver this story without restricting it to mobile. Maybe some sort of Port can be put together so that PC Gamers can enjoy it as well. I can’t speak for Blizzard, but I can point out that there is still an opportunity to mend fences. We will have to wait and see what the future holds for Diablo Immortal and the core Community.


Also published on Medium.

Josh is a long-time Gamer and Technology Guru. He is known for his writing and troubleshooting skills. Josh can solve just about any problem, and is especially good at getting to the bottom of technology challenges. He has a background in Networking and holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree. When he’s not gaming, Josh can be found blogging, testing new tech, and interacting with Flickstiq’s social media following. He lives in Ohio with his wife and children.

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