Jun 1, 2022 - Technology

New Diablo game is loaded with offers to buy stuff

Four video game screenshots, one showing combat between magical warriors, the three others showing items being sold for real money
Diablo Immortal. Screenshot: Blizzard/Axios

Activision Blizzard’s big mobile gaming bet, Diablo Immortal, went live in the U.S. today, one day earlier than planned, replete with the kinds of in-game purchasing offers abundant in mobile games.

Why it matters: Diablo is the first of Blizzard’s revered, long-running PC franchises to be converted to mobile, and it's the first to be festooned with the kind of monetization systems that tend to be lucrative for publishers but controversial with many players.

  • Diablo Immortal plays like its PC and console predecessors — maneuver a warrior through graveyards and caves while slaying monsters, collecting loot and upgrading gear as you go — though with touch-screen controls.

What’s different is how players can pay and pay again.

  • You don’t buy the game upfront, as you would Diablo I, Diablo II and Diablo III.
  • Instead, you download it for free (all whopping 12GB of it) and start hacking away.
  • Once you finish the first quest, the money options emerge.

Players can pay to:

  • Get cooler-looking outfits (about $16/each).
  • Access a premium tier of rewards, which unlock as you play across a 35-day in-game season ($5).
  • Receive 30 days’ worth of bonus rewards ($10, with the option to pay triple for 3x the rewards).
  • Open special treasure chests offered on completion of in-game tasks such as clearing a dungeon with other players ($1 per “one-time" offer).

The bottom line: None of these options will look odd to people who play mobile games such as FarmVille or even cross-platform games such as Fortnite.

  • But they’ll be a shock to players not used to seeing a franchise they love sold in parts quite this way.

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