The release of Diablo Immortal, a controversial mobile game used in its famous action-RPG series, has been postponed in China just days before it was due to begin.
NetEase, a game''s co-developer and local publisher, announced on June 19 that it would undergo further development, including support for more devices and network improvements. This is despite the game''s apparent technically smooth rollout in Western territories, Japan, and South Korea at the start of June.
A further update by Blizzard said the launch had been postponed until July 7. We believe that our players will benefit from an optimization that would make the download and playing experience much smoother, according to it, and details a few changes that would be made. These include changes to the order in which mobile devices download data while you install and play, and improvements to support the very diverse Android phones'' ability. Players in the region will receive a compensatory package of gear and crafting materials.
However, questions remain about other possible reasons for this delay. Several days after Diablo Immortals, a Chinese social media platform, was banned from starting new posts. Weibo said the restriction was for violation of related regulations.
It''s reasonable to speculate whether the game is on regulatory hot waters in China. Diablo Immortal has received widespread criticism for its monetization, which some claim is exploitative. There are reports that it would cost between $50,000 and $110,000 to fully max out a character via microtransactions. Quin69 purchased a single legendary gem with a 5-star rating before destroying it in protest. The game has not been launched in the Netherlands or Belgium, where strict laws classify loot boxes in internet games as gambling.
The government is pledging against the video gaming industry in China. Many of the country''s loot boxes aren''t as strict as Dutch and Belgian laws, although they only require lower rates to be disclosed and a limitation on daily purchases.
Diablo Immortal has been completely conceived with China in mind. Blizzard hired NetEase as a co-developer to assist Diablos'' core gameplay into these devices and this business model. It would be ironic, but a significant blow to the games'' fortunes if the game was denied release there.
Diablo Immortal is on the verge of making a significant impact already. Appmagic (via Pocket Gamer) claims it had $24 million in revenue in its first two weeks on mobiles, despite not counting its PC version. Blizzard claims it has been downloaded ten million times, making it the largest start in the Diablo series history.