Diablo Immortal has sparked controversy among elements of Blizzard’s audience ever since it was first announced. The monetisation model sparked a brutal backlash, stopped it being released in Belgium and the Netherlands, and Blizzard had to rush out a promise that Diablo 4 won’t be monetized the same way.
But the thing is, Diablo Immortal sure seems to have made some people happy. The last stats Blizzard provided on the game was that it had been downloaded by over 15 million players in two weeks (opens in new tab), earning around $24 million.
Two months since launch, the game now boasts over 30 million players.
The player numbers are coming from an official channel, but mobile market analyst SensorTower (opens in new tab) has also just published a report about the game’s success, in which it estimates the title has now raked-in over $100 million globally. SensorTower’s data is generally accurate but figures like this are extrapolating from public information and sample sets of users, so bear that in mind. These figures will also have received a massive boost from the game’s Chinese launch on 25 July, where it instantly shot to the top of download charts.
Whatever the precise stats, there’s no doubting that Diablo Immortal has a lot of players, and is making a lot of money. This game is a hit. Blizzard president Mike Ybarra recently went to bat for the game (opens in new tab), saying that the criticism was not reflective of wider reaction: something that these figures would seem to back up.
“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?'” says Ybarra.
“The monetization comes in at the end game. 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.”
(Image credit: Activision-Blizzard/NetEase)
Blizzard says the “vast majority” of players haven’t spent money on the game, and that 50% of Immortal’s players are new to Blizzard games.
PCG’s Tyler Colp spent some time with the game, and felt it was more designed to exploit your love of Diablo than being a great Diablo. It is, at least, responsible for this headline: Diablo Immortal player uses premium currency shenanigans to turn old WoW tokens into a whale-killing Necromancer.