My column this week is a breakdown of why the response to the Diablo: Immortal announcement was so negative. I tried to keep the outrage distant and abstract and just look at this from the point of view of a PC-centric audience.
Having said that, how bad was the outrage? The big meme-worthy moment was when one guy asked the presenters if the announcement was an out-of-season April Fool’s joke. Sure, that’s a little rude. But if I just spent hundreds of dollars to attend a convention focused on classic PC games made by Blizzard and the main event was a shallow phone game that wasn’t made by Blizzard, I’d probably be pretty miffed too. Where is this supposed outrage? The toxicity? To me it feels less like outrage and more like annoyance and disappointment. I’m sure we can go on Twitter and find some loony spewing personal attacks at the developers, but if that’s your standard for public outrage then literally everything is an outrage because there’s always That Guy.
I think it’s still a controversy worth talking about, simply because it shows a sudden shift of behavior in a major company. It’s also a pretty good example of a major miscalculation that seems obvious in retrospect.
So what happens next? Right now it feels like anything is possible and nothing is likely. Blizzard PR seems to be AWOL, but I’m guessing this caught them flat-footed and they’re scrambling to form a strategy. Will Blizzard double down? Will they backpedal? I’m curious what everyone thinks, so let’s do a poll:
You know what I’d love to see? A new MMO from Blizzard. I know that’s a pipe dream. If they put out a new MMO it would probably just cannibalize the World of Warcraft userbase and that’s the last thing they want. Still, I’d love to see a modern action-based MMO with the legendary Blizzard polish. Something like Black Desert Online except not terrible.
If you’ve got questions or suggestions for future columns, please do let me know in the comments.
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