Wednesday, November 22, 2023
Diablo IV free to play
From all I hear and see, Diablo IV is not a very good game. To me the screenshots and bits of video I saw of regular gameplay looked extremely ugly, although admittedly that is more because of the color palette than because of detail and resolution. And Blizzard made some unfortunate choices during release, first patches, and season 1, which led to players leaving the game in droves, and a lot of negative stories in the gaming press. So I wasn't tempted to pay $70 to see for myself. But today I saw on Steam that between today, November 22, and November 28, you can play Diablo IV for free. And now equipped with 1 Gbit/sec fiber internet, the 85 GByte download aren't really a big obstacle anymore. So the game is currently installing on my PC, and I can form my own opinion.
I am asking myself whether Diablo IV shouldn't have been free to play to start with. Diablo Immortal was, and it isn't as if Diablo IV has less ongoing monetization. I am not a big fan of "double dipping", where you first have to pay full price to start playing, and then are still expected to pay monthly for things like battle passes and cosmetics. Even if Diablo IV is not Pay2Win as Immortal, the $20 skins in Diablo IV seem overpriced, especially since you already had to buy the game at full price.
At this point, it would probably be a really bad idea for Blizzard to make Diablo IV free. All the people who paid $70 to $100 for the game would be extremely unhappy. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that sales now aren't great, and Blizzard would love to get more players into the game. The free week is probably some sort of compromise here. We are then expected to get hooked and spend those $70 afterwards. Joke is on you, Blizzard, I'm pretty certain that I can play enough Diablo IV in a week to be done with the game and never spend anything. And I would bet that next year Diablo IV will be available to me at some point without additional cost as part of my Game Pass subscription, now Microsoft's purchase of Activision Blizzard went through.