Since its release in June, Diablo Immortal has been the subject of criticism over its prevalent microtransactions, which players say can cost thousands of dollars without ever seeing the legendary gems they want from loot boxes. However, Blizzard CEO Mike Ybarra is still in favor of the game’s monetization.
In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ybarra stood by the game’s microtransactions, which he claimed were implemented to make the game more accessible. “When we think about monetization, at the very highest level it 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 told the LA Times.
He also defended the way the microtransactions are implemented, as they largely only come into play in the game’s later stages. “The monetization comes in at the end game,” Ybarra continued. “The philosophy was always to lead with great gameplay and make sure that hundreds of millions of people can go through the whole campaign without any costs. From that standpoint, I feel really good about it as an introduction to Diablo.”
Blizzard also said that most players aren’t spending money on the game, though it wouldn’t provide specific statistics. Recently, however, Diablo Immortal’s microtransactions netted the company $24 million in just two weeks.
Diablo Immortal – Launch Screenshots
As many countries move to consider loot boxes as exploitative, the title was recently pulled in Belgium and the Netherlands for its heavy reliance on loot boxes.
We gave Diablo Immortal a 6/10 in our review, praising some aspects of its gameplay but saying it needs significant “overhauls to the monetisation and the many restrictions.”
Amelia Zollner is a freelance writer at IGN. Find them on Twitter: @ameliazollner.