Blizzard President Defends Diablo Immortal’s Microtransactions

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Image: Blizzard Entertainment

Blizzard president Mike Ybarra has gathered the courage to defend Diablo Immortal following the tremendous amount of controversy that the free-to-play installment of the hack-and-slash franchise has prompted since its release on iOS, Android, and Windows on June 2, 2022.

Speaking with the Los Angeles Times in a new interview about Blizzard being “in a crisis,” Ybarra confirmed that he was aware of the criticisms levied at the title but justified the game’s monetization in that it was a way of providing a new Diablo experience to people at no cost.

Ybarra also told the publication that the monetization doesn’t come in until the end of game, while a follow-up email that the LA Times received from an unnamed Blizzard spokesperson claims that a “vast majority” of Diablo Immortal players aren’t even spending money.

Recent findings from sources such as AppMagic suggest that the game is bringing in over $1 million per day for Activision and Blizzard, however. Diablo Immortal’s first post-launch update launched this week, introducing a new season and Battle Pass dubbed “Bloodsworn.”

“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% of everything in the game?’” Ybarra said.

“The monetization comes in at the end game,” he added. “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.’”

In a follow-up email a Blizzard spokesperson noted that the vast majority of players are not spending money, although the company declined to offer specific stats. Ybarra says Blizzard is well aware of the gripes but will defend the title by citing its high rating and 110,000-plus user reviews on Apple’s App Store, implying the complaints are not reflective of the broader game-playing community. Additionally, the company says it has collected data that tells it about 50% of “Immortal” players are new to the Blizzard ecosystem.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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Tsing Mui
Tsing has been writing the news for over 5 years, first at [H]ard|OCP and now at The FPS Review. He has a background in journalism and makes sure to give his readers the relevant context to why each news post matters.

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