World of Warcraft creator and Diablo II producer Mark Kern is criticizing video game journalists for blaming the backlash directed at Diablo Immortal on gamers. Last week's announcement that Blizzard was developing a Diablo mobile game was instantly met with negative feedback. On YouTube, the reveal trailer has 430,000 down votes, as opposed to 16,000 up votes.
At this year's BlizzCon, there was an expectation that Blizzard was going to make a major announcement. The general assumption was that Blizzard was prepared to officially announce the long-awaited sequel to 2012's Diablo III, Diablo IV. Blizzard reportedly did have the intention of confirming the game's development, but pulled the plug on the announcement of Diablo IV at the last minute. Instead, Blizzard unveiled Diablo Immortal, a mobile game for iOS and Android devices that would focus on multiplayer gameplay. Blizzard's decision was hit with scathing criticism.
During the announcement at BlizzCon, a fan made an angry outburst aimed at the developers. As a result, journalists in the gaming industry began criticizing the fan and others on Twitter for the way that they've expressed their disappointment with the upcoming mobile game. In response, Mark Kern said in a tweet that journalists need to stop blaming gamers for the problems with Diablo Immortal.
Blizzard stock dropped 7%. Time for self-reflection there. Game journos will probably blame this on gamers...again. If you hate gamers, quite doing game journalism. We won't miss you. We have youtubers.— Mark Kern (@Grummz) November 6, 2018
As Kern points out, stock in Activision has dropped by 7 percent after the outrage over Diablo Immortal. Kern's comments echo the thoughts of others who have stated that the problem isn't an angry fanbase; the problem is that Blizzard isn't in touch with what their players want from the company. After the official reveal, Kern acknowledged the negative reaction by saying that Blizzard doesn't understand gamers anymore. In another tweet, Kern argued that the real issue with the game is how it was revealed. Kern called it a "PR blunder" that could have "long term damage" for Blizzard's image. Since Diablo is a PC-based franchise, fans obviously expected Blizzard to unveil the next entry in the Diablo series for the PC, not a mobile game with microtransactions.
Apparently, Diablo is only one of Blizzard's franchises to get the mobile treatment in the near future. Blizzard has plans to make mobile games for more of their properties, which include Starcraft, Warcraft, and Overwatch. It's possible that Diablo Immortal will prove to be a learning experience as Blizzard moves forward with their new mobile gaming strategy.
Source: Mark Kern