Blizzard CEO defends microtransactions in Diablo Immortal

Diablo Immortal has been controversial since its release in June 2022 due to the prevalence of microtransactions, which players claim can cost a fortune without earning them the legendary gems desired from loot boxes. Diablo Immortal has been review-bombed on Metacritic. Its user score is currently 0.7, the third-lowest in Blizzard’s history.

Despite the ongoing criticism, Blizzard Entertainment and its new CEO, Mike Ybarra, continued to defend Diablo Immortal’s microtransactions. In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, they claimed that they added the feature to make the game more widely available.

“The top priority when we thought about monetization was, ‘How do we give hundreds of millions of people a free ‘Diablo’ experience where they can literally do 99.5 percent of everything in the game?'” Ybarra said.

The CEO of Blizzard also said that microtransactions were best suited for Diablo Immortal fans because most players did not spend money on the game. He also said that monetization occurred only “at the end game” to allow as many people to enjoy the game for free as possible.

“The monetization happens at the end game,” Ybarra explained. “The philosophy was always to lead with great gameplay and ensure that hundreds of millions of people could complete the campaign for free.”

Furthermore, he asserted that the introduction of Diablo Immortal and the current game stats were significant commercial achievements.

“From that perspective, I’m very pleased with it as an introduction to Diablo,” new CEO said.

Microtransactions in Diablo Immortal boost Blizzard’s revenue

Despite the negative public perception, the game recently earned the company $24 million through microtransactions in less than two weeks. Diablo Immortal is currently generating more than $1 million per day, more than a month after its official release. The iOS and Android versions garnered over 10 million mobile downloads in the first 30 days of availability, according to Appmagic data.

The data above backs up the popular free-to-play trend, which indicates that only a few Diablo Immortal players spend a lot of money on a game while the majority spend little or play for free.

The CEO of Blizzard, Ybarra, was accurate when saying that the vast majority of Diablo Immortal players cleared the game without spending any money. Microtransactions, however, continue to irritate some players once they reach the game’s end game paywall, which has become increasingly burdensome as the Immortal players progress through loot grinds.

Given the current situation, many early Diablo Immortal players will, predictably, leave the game. That process, however, may take longer than expected. Based on previous data, Quettra forecasts that an app that debuts in the “top ten” of the Google Play Store, such as Diablo Immortal, can be expected to remain close to 60 percent of its initial users after three months.

In the best-case scenario, Diablo Immortal will continue to have millions of regular players for the rest of the year and into the next. While the overwhelming majority of those players will never pay for the game, the top-tier players could easily spend enough money to keep Blizzard’s revenue flowing for quite some time.