In news that will shock no-one, it appears that the recently-announced Diablo Immortal for mobile is designed with the Chinese market in mind.
Word comes by way of a Kotaku report into Blizzard and the Diablo franchise, with developers telling the outlet that the title is being made because consumers in this region will buy it. One employee pointed to gamers in this part of the world having a rather low bar for quality, meaning that a firm like Blizzard - known for its polish - could do rather well.
Sources told the outlet that the original plan for the game was to launch it in China first.
“Essentially it exists because we’ve heard that China really wants it,” said one developer. “It is really for China."
Another dev added: "The quality bar in the Chinese market, especially for framerate, is extremely low. You can release something that’d be considered alpha footage here and it’d be a finished game there.”
In a statement, Blizzard refuted this narrative, saying that the game was designed with a worldwide audience in mind.
“One of our core values is ‘think globally’ and our history has shown that we strive to make our games in as many languages as possible so more players can enjoy them,” the firm said.
“With that in mind, we quickly knew that we wanted to bring Diablo Immortal to the global audience.”
That Blizzard is teaming up with its Chinese publishing partner NetEase is a sure sign that the Chinese market is a large motivation behind this new project. The local company has helped Blizzard launch World of Warcraft, Overwatch and even a free-to-play edition of Diablo 3 after their Western launches. That it is involved from the get-go this time around is a shift in the tide.
PCGamesInsider.biz has written before that triple-A firms like Activision Blizzard will be paying more attention to the Chinese market moving forwards. Soon it won't be enough to simply move a title from the West to the East - as Blizzard has done in the past with its aforementioned titles. In the future, it's incredibly likely that this audience will be considered from the start of development.
Immortal was announced at this year's Blizzcon, with a fan backlash occurring shortly after due to this not being a mainline PR and console title.
The same Kotaku report also paints a rather troubling picture of how Activision and Blizzard are working together at the moment.
The emerging Chinese market is just one of the topics that will be discussed at PC Connects London 2019. Tickets are available to buy right here. One ticket gives you access to not just this event, but also Pocket Gamer Connects and Blockchain Gamer Connects.