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Diablo Immortal is an upcoming mobile video game developed by Blizzard Entertainment, to be published by Activision Blizzard for mobile platforms unveiled at BlizzCon 2018. Diablo Immortal covers the stories and character journeys between the events of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction and Diablo III. There are no plans from Blizzard Entertainment to release this video game on PC or console platforms.
In order to develop this video game, Blizzard partnered with Chinese developer NetEase Games, and it appears that Diablo Immortal is either a graphical reskin, or a very minor rework, of some of NetEases's other titles, such as Endless of God, which heavily featured microtransactions and play-to-win functionality. NetEase Games are also seen as unpopular even in their native China due to their predatory microtransactions.
The game was received poorly by BlizzCon attendees, and for the first time since BlizzCon began, the stage was booed by the audience. One member of the audience asked "Is this an out-of-season April Fools joke?", to which the audience cheered. When the stage clarified that there were no plans to release this on PC or console platforms, boos rained from the audience. The stage's response to this was "You all have mobiles, don't you?". There have also been reports that YouTube has been removing comments and downvotes from YouTube videos (which at one point made users post a removed comment from a user called RedPillShark as part of their own comments). While Blizzard has uploaded more than one copy of the cinematic to YouTube (to comply with licensing regulations from regulatory bodies such as the ESRB and PEGI), they have all, at time of writing, been subject to heavy dislike-to-like ratios.
Some social media outlets and game industry workers that have previously been Anti-GamerGate condemned the backlash as "misogynistic", claiming that as mobile games were played primarily by women, any such criticism was due to women being the primary beneficiary of any such foray into mobile gaming. One Mashable article (of which this is just one of several that have been put out) claimed that players needed to "Grow up", Venturebeat claimed the game was "fine", but still expressed reservations that Blizzard has not indicated how the game will be monetized. Forbes also claimed that users need to calm down; the writer, Paul Tassi, while claiming to be a player of Diablo III, misses the point completely over why fans are outraged (understandable, since Paul Tassi has no concept of the Diablo universe prior to Diablo III), throwing particular fire at the gentleman who asked the BlizzCon April Fools question.
Fans of the Diablo franchise were unhappy with the Diablo Immortal announcement for a number of reasons; the core player base at the time was keen to see a Diablo II remaster, as many fans regard this video game and its mechanics as being the peak of the series. Many fans were also unhappy with the launch of Diablo III, and while the general consensus is that the Reaper of Souls update to the game has made it greatly more enjoyable, some fans believe that a new entry to the series with many of the lessons learned would be more productive. Mobile video games that use high-profile IPs are also widely seen as exploitative and a cheap way for a company to secure revenue at the expense of development time (which has already been demonstrated by companies such as Electronic Arts with their Dungeon Keeper and Command & Conquer series, and Square Enix with some of their Final Fantasy XV spin-off titles). Some Diablo fans fear that this marks a turning point for their beloved franchise in much the same way.
Sensing an opportunity to grow their player base, the Path of Exile subreddit hosted a "Welcome" thread for existing Diablo players seeking an alternative video game to the Diablo franchise that offers similar gameplay.