The announcement of Blizzard's Diablo Immortal has been met with severe blacklash, though this doesn't necessarily mean that the upcoming mobile game will prove to be a failure. In fact, new gaming data suggests that Blizzard's move toward mobile gaming may actually be a smart decision.
It's been six years since there was a new installment in the Diablo series, one of the most successful hack-and-slash RPG franchises ever. Fans were hopeful that at this year's BlizzCon that Diablo 4 would be officially announced. Instead, Blizzard revealed that the company is partnering with NetEase to develop Diablo Immortal, a mobile game focused on multiplayer gameplay. The fan base was disappointed with the news, and the reaction so far has been overwhelmingly negative. Not only that, but stock in Activision Blizzard has already seen a drop since the announcement.
While on the surface Diablo Immortal may appear to be a mistake by Blizzard, only time will tell if this is actually the case. Looking at other factors, it's possible that the mobile game will turn into a major financial success. Other companies have gained significant profits from mobile gaming. Chinese developer Tencent, for example, makes a tremendous amount of money from free-to-play games that are filled with microtransactions, such as Crossfire, PUBG Mobile, and Arena of Valor. In terms of revenue from video games, Tencent is ranked the #1 company - earning over $4 billion more than Sony (#2) - which puts it way above even the most high-profile video game developers, such as Nintendo, Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft, and Bandai Namco.
Another issue that could have impacted Blizzard's decision is the popular PC game, World of Warcraft, which has been rapidly losing subscribers since 2015. Considering the cost of making a triple-A game, Blizzard could have determined that a mobile game is the best way to go, at least for the time being. It could be that Blizzard will use some of the profits from Immortal to fund Diablo 4, which was supposedly going to be announced at BlizzCon before being pulled at the last minute, though that report has since been refuted.
Based on the success of other mobile games, Diablo Immortal could easily end up sharing in that success and becoming a big hit, even if it fails to please their fan base, who feel that Blizzard is no longer in touch with what gamers want. If Immortal does go well, more mobile games from Blizzard could surely be on their way. While that's not necessarily the best strategy for Blizzard, with regards to keeping their fan base alive, it may, objectively, be the best decision to keep up in today's gaming market and satisfy their shareholders.
Source: New Zoo