Why Diablo 4 Won't Be Pay-to-Win Like Diablo Immortal

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Diablo Hasn't Always Been Pay-to-Win
Credit: Activision-Blizzard

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Diablo Immortal is out on PC, but gamers across the world have not been happy with the game. While the mechanics and gameplay are generally well-liked, the game's monetization is so egregiously predatory, making the pay-to-win too much for even a mobile game, that gamers are upset. They're so upset that they're wondering if Diablo 4 is going to have similar problems. Luckily, this isn't too likely, so in this article, we'll explain why Diablo 4 won't be pay-to-win like Diablo Immortal.

Diablo Hasn't Always Been Pay-to-Win

Diablo Hasn't Always Been Pay-to-Win 2
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Credit: Activision-Blizzard

Diablo 2: Resurrected came out not too long ago, and by all accounts, this was the best remake Blizzard has done in a long time. There weren't even any new, horrifying monetization systems added to the game; in fact, the game is nearly identical to the original with just a few upgrades to make the game work in the modern-day. However, Activision-Blizzard hasn't always done this.

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When the company remade Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare it nearly ruined the classic game with new monetization systems and mechanics nobody wanted, and as a result, the remake didn't do very well and not as many played it as who would have if the remake had been more faithful to the original game. Maybe Activision-Blizzard learned something from this experience, leading to the Diablo 2 remake being what it was.

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Beyond this, Diablo 3 launched in a bad state. Many hated the real-money Auction House, and the game required many changes and additions before it turned into something the community was satisfied with, but it did eventually get there, and the game's real-money component was relatively quickly removed. Yes, there are many mistakes Activision-Blizzard has made, but Diablo, outside of Diablo Immortal, hasn't been particularly pay-to-win.

Outside of Diablo immortal, too, there isn't much hard evidence to suggest that Diablo 4 is going in a terrible direction, monetization-wise, either. As a PC-first relatively hardcore action-RPG meant to be grinded and grinded, mobile game monetization doesn't make a lot of sense for Diablo 4. Mobile games are just monetized differently, after all, right?

Mobile Game Monetization

It's pretty clear that Diablo Immortal took things too far, sure, but in general, mobile games are monetized very differently from console and PC games. Sure, some games are on all the platforms and are monetized the same, but mobile games have a tendency towards being free-to-play and filled to the brim with microtransactions.

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Mobile games are, also, designed to be played for shorter play sessions, and mobile games in general are made to be more 'time-killers' than they are made to be seriously involved and comprehensive experiences, so naturally they're taken less 'seriously' than games you pay a bunch of money for and sit and stare at a big screen to play. Accordingly, this means gamers are a lot more accepting of microtransactions, especially with a free-to-play game.

Whether or not the monetization goes too far or not, when you play something casually to just break up a boring commute or fill some time in between classes, or whatever, you tend to care a lot less about whether or not other players who pay money are a lot stronger than you or not, especially if you're not doing a lot of PvP. This is fundamentally different from games on console and PC, while there can be overlap.

A premium PC-first game like Diablo 4 inevitably is a very different value proposition. People are planning on spending lots of time playing, lots of time focused on the game, and it's expected (and advertised) to be a big, meaty, deep experience that you can play for years by yourself and with friends. Naturally, the game won't be monetized like a mobile game, because that wouldn't make sense from a business perspective.

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Greed vs Profits in Games

Diablo Hasn't Always Been Pay-to-Win 3
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Credit: Activision-Blizzard

Many people make the mistake of assuming that more monetization = more money so companies will choose to make worse games that are overly monetized to make the most money. To some extent, this does work, but this isn't totally true. As described above, there are actual reasons why gamers are more okay with microtransaction monetization in mobile games.

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But there's also a reason why the most successful PC and console games aren't like Diablo Immortal. The most profitable games on these platforms are like Warzone or Fortnite that are free-to-play with microtransactions but they aren't like the microtransactions of a mobile game like Diablo Immortal. If a company like Activision-Blizzard wants to make the most money they can with a game like DIablo 4 the company will want to monetize it like a Warzone and not a Diablo Immortal.

This is to say that the greedy move, so to speak, won't be to turn Diablo 4 into Diablo Immortal 2 but to rather monetize it in such a way that it doesn't seem so bad and outrageous but quietly takes up your money, on top of the upfront cost, for years and years to come. That's how Warzone works with its battle passes and cosmetic microtransactions. People hate this less, so they're more willing, at a macro scale, to engage with these systems.

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