New information suggests the decision to create Diablo Immortal was driven in large part because of the lucrative Chinese mobile gaming market, but fret not, Diablo 4 is still in active development, and gamers will likely get a demo of the game when it is announced.
The report, published by Kotaku‘s Jason Schreier, contains anonymous quotes from members of the Blizzard development team that indicate Diablo Immortal was developed with Chinese fans in mind. Kotaku‘s sources go on to explain that the original plan was to release Diablo Immortal exclusively in China for a few months to a year, take stock of fan reaction, and then release it in the west.
“Essentially it exists because we’ve heard that China really wants it. It is really for China,” a current developer is quoted as saying.
“The quality bar in the Chinese market, especially for framerate, is extremely low,” a Blizzard source informed Kotaku. “You can release something that’d be considered alpha footage here and it’d be a finished game there.”
The decision to create a version of Diablo specifically for the Chinese market is an astute one from a business perspective, as the Chinese mobile games market is the worlds largest, making up more than 25 percent of worldwide revenue. The mobile market in China is also forecast to increase by $8 billion over the next five years. Thankfully, the same sources say Blizzard made the decision to ditch its staggered release and polish the game enough for a worldwide announcement and release.
Despite a current focus on marketing Diablo Immortal, Blizzard does seem to be working on Diablo 4. The report quotes the company as stating that it is simply not ready to show the world its unannounced games. Understandably, the studio wants to have a plan in place before sharing more news with gamers.
“In terms of unannounced games, so much can change over the course of development based on how we’re feeling about the progress and direction of the project, so we try not to share details about unannounced projects before we’re ready. Our preference is to have a clear announcement plan with some concrete details and hopefully a playable demo of the game when we announce. That applies to our Diablo projects and our other games as well.”
Officially, Blizzard has only teased Diablo 4’s existence, stating that it has multiple Diablo projects currently in production. We know one of these was the recent Switch release, and another was revealed with the announcement of the aforementioned Diablo Immortal. Hardcore fans eager for the next numbered entry in the franchise can seek comfort in a quote from a pre-Blizzcon blog post on the Diablo website, which seems to indicate that gamers will be rewarded for their patience.
“BlizzCon 2018 is almost here and we’ve seen a lot of rumors flying around about our plans for Diablo at the show. These are very exciting times—we currently have multiple teams working on different Diablo projects and we can’t wait to tell you all about them… when the time is right. We know what many of you are hoping for and we can only say that “good things come to those who wait,” but evil things often take longer.”