Blizzard boss Mike Ybarra has discussed the reaction to Diablo Immortal and specifically its microtransactions. In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, Ybarra said Immortal was designed for players to enjoy without spending money, and a Blizzard representative said the “vast majority” of Immortal players have not spent any money on the title, according to The Times.
“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?'” Ybarra said.
The executive said he is seeing the questions and concerns around Immortal’s microtransactions, but he also pointed out that the game has a very positive aggregate review rating on the App Store. Immortal has more than 114,000 reviews on the App Store and has generated a 4.5/5 aggregate rating.
Immortal’s endgame is focused around PvP, and players can spend real money to become more powerful than those who do not, which has proven to be controversial.
“The monetization comes in at the end game,” Ybarra said. “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.”
Immortal has made than $1 million every day since it released in early June from its microtransactions. The game has now reached 15 million downloads, LAT reported, and it’s set to grow bigger still with its launch in Asia today, July 7. The game is also coming to China where it’s expected to do big numbers.
Blizzard also told LAT that about 50% of Immortal players have never played a Blizzard game before. In the same interview, Ybarra detailed Blizzard’s ongoing attempts to improve company culture.
GameSpot’s Diablo Immortal review scored the game a 6/10. “Diablo Immortal is a surprisingly premium-feeling adventure in the series that hits all the right notes, even if its endgame starts to depend on microtransactions too heavily,” reviewer Alessandro Barbosa said.
Blizzard recently revealed details on Immortal’s first post-launch content update, which includes a new season and various quality-of-life updates.