In the wake of Blizzard’s reveal of mobile game Diablo Immortal, Activision-Blizzard’s shares have dipped by 7.2 per cent.
Blizzard is experiencing an unprecedented backlash when it closed BlizzCon with the news that Diablo was coming to mobile. Almost 35,000 fans have already added their names to a petition calling on Blizzard to cancel the project.
Despite analysts asserting the mobile game is likely to "attract larger, harder core mobile audiences in Asia and the Diablo franchise is popular in the US, China, Europe, and Korea”, the shock response has now hit the NASDAQ stock exchange, with Bloomberg (via PCGamesN) reporting a 7.2 per cent drop in shares in Activision-Blizzard, putting it “on track for its lowest close since January.”
Morgan Stanley’s Brian Nowak went further, suggesting Diablo Immortal could eventually see "more than 200 million monthly active users, and that it could generate annual earnings of as much as $2.52 a share", whilst other industry commenters estimate the game could "contribute annual revenue of up to $300 million" after launch, expecting the mobile title to “expand the franchise’s audience to hundreds of millions of players.”
Fans flooded social media and r/diablo with criticism of both the announcement and the game itself. One fan stood up in BlizzCon’s Q&A session and asked if the announcement was "an out of season April Fools’ joke", while on YouTube, Blizzard’s official cinematic trailer for Diablo Immortal has (at the time of writing) been "disliked" 490,000 times, balanced with just 18,000 likes.
Blizzard has been clear that it has "multiple teams working on different Diablo projects", some of which could well include a sequel or remaster, and has reiterated this following the Immortal fallout.