There is no doubt that if you exist on the internet you know who Blizzard are, and to be honest you probably know what they've been up to recently. The famous clip, linked below, was the subject of much discussion on Reddit and beyond as the company chose to announce their new Diablo mobile title at Blizzcon, to a group of rabid fans, which didn’t go down that well.
The response from principal designer Wyatt Cheng was a touch tone deaf but that hasn’t stopped the media from taking sides - and hard. Some have come down on the side of the fans, believing they are deserving of more respect from the company, while others are more interested in attacking the player base, labelling the boos as "entitled" and, therefore, the people booing as the same.
The latter response has often been accompanied by the sort of graphs and charts that show the wisdom of getting into mobile gaming and misses the point of the ire entirely, as well as insulting a lot of people who are just passionate about gaming.
Instead, the crowd felt let down
Nobody would possibly blame Blizzard for their move, or even think they get to make all their own decisions around the Diablo game, but the timing was poor, as VPEsports staff writer and Artifact aficionado Radoslav Kolev told us.
He said: “Blizzard’s mistake wasn’t in developing Diablo: Immortal in the first place, but making it the cornerstone of their Diablo section. If they had a serious Diablo announcement and on top of that had said, 'Oh, we also have this cool project. While you aren’t at home playing D4, or don’t have a Switch for Diablo 3, you can enjoy Sanctuary on your phones', and everyone would be happy. Instead the crowd felt let down.”
This isn’t the first time an audience has reacted with similar levels of disappointment to an announcement, as FACEIT are very aware. They decided to announce their league system to the audience at the London Major, teasing it as big news, leading to speculation among fans that something far more impactful for the scene was on the way. When it turned out not to be a big deal, the backlash was at least partly directed at FACEIT, and the employees who had decided to cryptically tease the news on Twitter.
The lesson here isn’t that you should never announce anything, of course, and equally we're not about to criticise Blizzard for wanting to make some of that sweet mobile gaming cash, but there doesn’t appear to be a lot of thought about timing. Maybe, if you’re running an event for hardcore Blizzard fans, it’s not the best idea to make a third party mobile game the central jewel in your presentational crown, but save that for another time, and another place.