The mere announcement of Diablo Immortal was enough to cause an uproar at BlizzCon 2018. At the time, fans were dearly hoping to learn about a new mainline game coming to PC and consoles, but Blizzard unveiled its first Diablo title for mobile devices. The negative feedback was so strong that even Activision’s stock took a hit.
However, Blizzard kept working on Diablo Immortal quietly and released the game in June 2022. It turned out to be a quality mobile game, although not devoid of the pay-to-win elements that often plague games made for mobile. Just a few days after the launch, Blizzard could claim Diablo Immortal had become the biggest launch for the franchise with over ten million downloads in the first week. By the end of July, the game had already earned over $100 million in revenue through microtransactions, according to a third-party report.
However, the question was whether gamers were just playing it until Diablo IV was released. In an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun from Gamescom 2023, franchise manager Rod Fergusson revealed Blizzard shared those doubts, but they turned out to be moot. After the even stronger launch of Diablo IV, Diablo Immortal is more popular than ever, said Fergusson.
One of the things that we were kind of nervous about initially was that when Diablo IV landed it would sort of cannibalize Diablo Immortal, and that everyone was just going to be, ‘Oh we’re just playing Immortal until Diablo IV comes out’. In fact, it was the opposite.
With each beta we did for Diablo IV, the more people started playing Immortal. Then once Diablo IV launched, the same thing. Diablo Immortal continues to be successful, so we found that because that idea of playing on my couch in my living room or at my desk vs I’m playing on my phone in the car or while I’m waiting for my coffee or whatever, there was a place for both games to co-exist and they co-exist well.
Beyond its availability on mobile, Diablo Immortal also has different features. It is effectively an MMOARPG with PvE raids and PvP competitions, whereas Diablo IV shied away from that type of gameplay. This difference could partially account for different player bases.
Diablo Immortal was recently updated with the Blood Knight class, never-before-seen in the franchise. Meanwhile, Diablo IV is readying for Season of Blood, the second since launch.
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