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Diablo Immortal’s Huge Success Isn’t a Threat

Diablo Immortal passed more than $100,000,000 in revenue in just eight weeks since it launched. That has caused some panic in the community.

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Rightly so, I guess. When a popular hardcore IP launches on mobile it’s always cause for concern. Remember when EA revived a bunch of beloved franchises like Dungeon Keeper for mobile and completely messed it up? Unfortunately, yes. we remember that.

But the issue there is more about chasing what’s immediately popular. It isn’t necessarily about retooling popular IPs for the mobile audience, as has been done with Diablo Immortal.

It would be very easy to panic about what this means for the future of the Diablo franchise. But in the short term, we know what it means for the future of the Diablo franchise. The next game will launch in the next 12 months, probably onto Game Pass. There may be monetization – when isn’t there in this day and age? But it seems unlikely that will have been changed because of Immortal.

In fact, this is just further proof that the hardcore gamer and the mobile gamer are a usually separate breed. And, for those optimists around us, we can only hope that all of us can live in harmony.

A History Lesson

It was interesting to look back at Dungeon Keeper Mobile. It was a game I had to Google, on the off chance that it was just a horrible fever dream. But nope, it released on January 30, 2014. For context, that is 25 years after Dungeon Keeper 2 came out. For fans, like myself, a mobile game was an insult. Dungeon Keeper 3 had been canceled? And if it was just a mobile game, it wouldn’t have mattered so much.

In-app purchases were plentiful. Advertising for the game was found to be misleading, because it was advertised as free. Users complained. Vocally. An EA exec said they’d innovated too much.

Diablo isn’t like this. Whatever your thoughts on it, Diablo Immortal is just a stopgap for a game that’s mainly playable on PC. It’s not a Dungeon Keeper 3 situation, where Immortal has taken the franchise in a brave new direction, and I can’t believe it ever will be. Microsoft want IPs to fill Game Pass. You don’t do that with mobile games alone, and the Diablo name gives them some PC gamer street cred.

That doesn’t mean we should be celebrating the success of Diablo Immortal. I don’t feel any more or less excited than I do when any product I’m not interested in does well. But the mass panic I’ve seen this weekend feels like it’s rather overselling things.

Diablo Immortal: A Future

Naturally, I could be wrong. Maybe seeing the money that can be made from a single well-received mobile title will change the complete direction of Blizzard, and later Microsoft. Hell, I have no doubt they’ll be looking to support it for a very long time to come.

But there’s such a thing as a persecution complex, and if other people enjoying a game you don’t want them to enjoy makes you angry, it might be time to take a step back.

 

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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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