Though Diablo 3 is, in fact, not releasing as soon as this February, it’s still presumed to be releasing some time this year -- that is if one small issue can get worked out. That issue in question involves Diablo 3 getting rejected not once, but twice by a South Korean Ratings Board.
The biggest problem the ratings board is having with approving Diablo 3 has nothing to do with its violence, which is typically a deal breaker for many country’s ratings boards, but centers around the game’s new auction house feature. You see, to combat selling products through outside sources like EBay and Craigslist, Blizzard has created a marketplace for players to sell their wares for real cash.
The cash that would be trading hands has to first jump through a few hoops before becoming useable currency, but it’s still possible to sell virtual items and turn an actual profit -- and it’s that “cash out” option that the South Korea ratings board is continuing to struggle with.
Blizzard has, since being rejected, removed the cash out option in the hopes that this third submission will get approved, but this issue might have larger implications in other countries as well. Since the auction house’s unveiling, gamers have struggled to grasp why Blizzard would essentially promote a trend that has, for some, ruined the MMO experience. It's an issue they will come under fire for from the very moment the game becomes available.
But more importantly, Blizzard intends for Diablo 3 to be a simultaneous, region free release meaning that if the game isn’t ready for retail in South Korea, it most likely won’t be heading to retail in other parts of the world. Who would have thought that something so controversial would have actually started a controversy?
Turning grinding for level into grinding for profit can be rewarded, but when real money enters the mix, the issue becomes very muddy. Hopefully Blizzard can work this whole thing out, and the game can still hit its targeted, but unannounced, release date.
How do you feel about this whole Diablo 3 auction house feature? Would you like to see Blizzard push to include it if it means delaying the game, or is it simply a bad idea?