Blizzard president defends controversial ‘Diablo Immortal’ microtransactions

Blizzard wanted to ensure players could "literally do 99.5 per cent of everything in the game" for free

Blizzard Entertainment president Mike Ybarra has defended monetisation in Diablo Immortal, claiming that players are able to do “99.5 per cent of everything in the game” for free.

Speaking to LA Times, Ybarra addressed the topic of monetisation in Diablo Immortal – a topic that has caused the game to become Blizzard’s lowest user-rated game of all time.

“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 per cent of everything in the game?’” explained Ybarra.

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Diablo Immortal. Credit: Blizzard Entertainment.

Ybarra went on to say that “the monetization comes in at the end game” so that it doesn’t affect players going through the campaign for the first time.

“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.’”

Ybarra added that Blizzard is aware of complaints regarding microtransactions, and implied that a high rating and over 110,000 user reviews on Apple‘s App Store means that the complaints to not represent the entirety of Diablo Immortal‘s playerbase.

Diablo Immortal. Credit: Blizzard Entertainment.

Despite what Ybarra says, the topic of monetization has been highly controversial among players. Earlier in the week, guides site Maxroll announced that it would be halting its Diablo Immortal coverage due to the game’s “predatory pay-to-win system”, adding that the approach is “completely against our values”.

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The extent of monetisation has also come under fire since Diablo Immortal launched – last month, a streamer spent £13,000 getting just one gem before deleting the game in protest.

Looking ahead, Ybarra says that Blizzard aims to release more Diablo content more consistently, and aims to release games on more devices because “just releasing games on PC doesn’t serve people playing games today”.

In other gaming news, Bungie is reportedly working on a Destiny game for mobile platforms.

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