In a recent Los Angeles Times interview (via VGC), Blizzard President Mike Ybarra defends the microtransactions in the company’s recent mobile title Diablo Immortal.
He says that the majority of microtransactions are optional and it is completely possible to play the game without spending any money.
“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?’”
“The monetization comes in at the end game,” Ybarra says. “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.”
Since its release in early June, Diablo Immortal has faced backlash for what many users deem to be predatory microtransactions, as it was found that the game can charge players up to 50K USD to max out a single character.
As a result, the game has been heavily review bombed with it setting a record for having the lowest user score on Metacritic. Even now it currently sits at a 0.4/10 user score on the website.
While Ybarra defends Diablo Immortal microtransactions as being optional, the game has been further criticized for taking far too long to level up a character without paying. Players have calculated that it can take up to 10 years to max out a character, therefore pressuring users to resort to microtransactions.
Diablo Immortal is available on PC and mobile devices.