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Diablo Immortal: over 20 million installs, gamers mock microtransactions, Blizzard defends its monetization

Developer Blizzard today confirmed the “20 million demon killers and counting” milestone, marking the occasion by rewarding all loyal players who have participated in the game so far with “Legendary Crest, gold, and more” rewards.

 

“Wow! A Legendary Crest! Thanks, Blizzard,” said one “happy” – or somewhat sarcastic – respondent.

“Log in and bring your wallet,” added another, referring to the game’s controversial microtransactions.

 

Blizzard and its new boss Mike Ybarra argued that most players don’t spend money on Diablo Immortal and that monetization only kicks in when it comes to “the endgame”.

“When we were thinking about monetization, the question at the highest level was, ‘How do we give a free Diablo experience to hundreds of millions of people where they can literally do 99.5% of everything in the game?” Ybarra said back then.

“The monetization comes in at the end of the game. The philosophy has always been to drive great gameplay and ensure that hundreds of millions of people can play through the entire campaign at no cost. In that respect, I’m feeling very good about my role as Diablo’s lead-in.”

Diablo Immortal is out now for PC and mobile. As detailed by Activision Blizzard via a recent update on the official website, “Skarn, Lord of Damnation has gathered his battle-hungry forces, awaiting your imminent arrival at the Sanctuary.”

Even before launch, Blizzard was keen to let fans know that the game’s microtransactions would “never bypass core gameplay”, but just days later the company announced that the game would not be released in two European countries due to loot boxes and anti-gambling laws, and complaints about pay-to-win began to surface.

However, none of this stopped the game from becoming incredibly popular. Just over two weeks after its release, Diablo Immortal had already secured over 8.5 million downloads and earned developer Blizzard $24 million by mid-June, making it the second highest-grossing game after Hearthstone. Consequently, Diablo Immortal has defied the microtransaction controversy to become the biggest and most profitable global release in the series’ history.

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