Blizzard boss defends Diablo Immortal microtransactions

Mike Ybarra, the head of Blizzard, has spoken out about the controversial microtransactions found in Diablo Immortal.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ybarra implied that complaints surrounding Diablo Immortal’s in-game purchases were limited to a small minority, and indeed, that Blizzard had specifically designed its free-to-play experience so the majority of players would still enjoy the bulk of the game.

Ybarra pointed to the game’s high rating and number of positive reviews on the App Store, and suggested these contrasted with some of the negative headlines and complaints which have been reported.

“When we think about monetisation, 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 percent of everything in the game?'” Ybarra said.

“The monetisation comes in at the end game,” he continued. “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.”

Blizzard may well be feeling good about Diablo Immortal, which has raked in revenue since it launched last month. It has been widely reported that the game earned around £20m in its first two weeks, with app store analysis pointing to it continuing to take in around £1m a day.

Users have also been attempting to calculate some of those endgame costs, with one estimate suggesting it is possible to spend £88k paying your way to fully upgrading your character.

And while Diablo Immortal’s app store rating may be positive, on PC, amongst a different audience, they are not.

“I get huge mixed feelings while playing Diablo Immortal,” our Bertie wrote, labelling the game as “the best and the worst of the series all in one”.