It hasn't been a great past few days for both Diablo fans and Activision Blizzard. During BlizzCon this past weekend, the announcement of a brand new mobile game, Diablo Immortal, didn't go over too well with fans, leading to a heavily skewed like-to-dislike ratio on the game's announcement trailer on YouTube, as well as fan Q&A sessions making for uncomfortable situations for the developers. It's clear from that many people aren't happy with the choices Activision Blizzard has made when it comes to the Diablo franchise, and the negative reception has affected it on the business side as well.
Share prices for Activision Blizzard's stock dropped 7 percent yesterday from a starting day selling point of $68.99 to $64.34. According to investment research firm Cowen & Company, the reasoning for the drop was due to the announcement of Diablo Immortal, as was expected. While the firm claimed some markets will be more apt to accept a mobile game approach, which will likely feature extra purchasing options and the comfort of mobile functionality, Activision Blizzard will have a hard time getting the game to appeal to players in the West, where mobile gaming hasn't attracted the same type of audience.
There's a strong possibility the release of Diablo Immortal will follow the common free-to-play model of the mobile market. Blizzard is currently developing the game with NetEase, who have experience with developing free-to-play games for mobile in the past. The potential for a "pay to win" model surely wouldn't go over well with the consumer base, as recent games in the past couple of years have seen their fair share of backlash when implementing border-line predatory microtransactions and loot boxes.
It's true Activision Blizzard did its best to try and get ahead of the expected negative reception for Diablo Immortal. Just a couple of week before its keynote to lead off last weekend conference, the company stated it wouldn't be making any new major game announcements. Despite announcing the team has multiple projects currently in development, the immediate reactions to its upcoming mobile title resembles a separation that "Blizzard doesn't understand gamers anymore", as said by a former Diablo 2 developer who voiced his concerns following the reveal.
Diablo Immortal will launch on mobile platforms at an unspecified date.