The Console wars have raged for years, ever since the first game was made on a computer and some other guy had the brilliant idea to make a computer only designed to play games and called it a Game Console.
In modern times the line between console and PC have become more blurred and the technology more similar. Arguably Gaming PC’s are still at the cutting edge of performance and tech but consoles are often more affordable, still powerful and offer other benefits.
However, predictably another line has been drawn in the sand and that is the conflict between gamers, and mobile games. Often termed “casual games” mobile games don’t have the best reputation in the gaming community (I am generalising of course!) and this has not been helped by the limitation of mobile phone technology.
Seemingly at Blizzcon Blizzard entertainment have managed to wade right into the middle of this new conflict with Diablo Immortals. For the uninitiated, Diablo Immortals is an offshoot of the famous Diablo series created specifically for mobile. It has been developed by Blizzard in collaboration with NetEase a third party developer.
To put it mildly fans were not happy (just look at the amount of unlikes on the trailer!). At the actual reveal fans booed and questioned the developers over the new game and Blizzard seemed quite surprised by the amount of negative backlash. With a seemingly dismissive response to the boos and clear upset at the announcement “do you guys all not have phones?”. Not being a huge player of Blizzard’s games including Diablo it was quite strange for me to see. And I would definitely like to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Blizzard seemed baffled too, they have remained confident that Immortals will be popular and people will enjoy it on release. Blizzard also seem to believe that fans are upset because they would rather the next full title in the Diablo series was released rather than this half way mobile game. In Blizzard’s defence, they have a totally separate team working on the next Diablo game and its on its way.
I have also seen another argument raised from fans though and its an interesting one this article from Polygon summarises best “Diablo: Immortal broke the unspoken rules of Blizzard, and BlizzCon” to briefly reiterate what the article says. It notes that Blizzard is well known for building on established ips and genres and perfecting them. For example Hearthstone is their take on Magic The Gathering. However, Diablo: Immortals is seems to be less Blizzard refining a preexisting concept and more a third party creating a Diablo game that’s average at best and falls short for fans.
It’s been interesting to see the backlash and I’d recommend checking out some of the comments on twitter and the other articles on it. Personally I don’t see what Blizzard is doing as anything too surprising. In fact it reminds me a lot of what Bethesda has done with Elder Scrolls Online. While most fans (including myself) have been waiting holding our breath and hoping for the next Elder Scrolls game to come along, Bethesda instead game us Elder Scrolls Online (ESO). A game that most fans never really asked for in collaboration with a third party developer Zenimax. In the beginning ESO fell short and disappointed many fans including my self who long for that single player immersive Elder Scrolls experience given to us by Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim. But its hard to deny ESO’s popularity it’s a good MMO and has been a success for Bethesda.
All in all though it does leave us fans in an odd place. When we are so attached to specific games and franchises and expectations have been built up over years it’s hard to experience a sudden shift. It’s to me certainly something quite unique to the gaming industry, it would be like your favourite adult novel suddenly publishing its next volume in pop up form!
I think Diablo: Immortals will be hugely successful on mobile, its a market that is expanding and that doesn’t have many big name gaming companies to compete against. Minecraft has done well on mobile and with mobile tech getting better with each generation I can only see this trend increasing. At the end of the day Blizzard like Bethesda is a company, they will want to find new ways to make more money from their products and for Blizzard mobile games is a lucrative area to expand into just like online multiplayer has been for Bethesda.
But I’d like to know how you feel about the Diablo: Immortals announcement. Were you annoyed or happy? or had no strong feelings either way like myself?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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