the joint project by Blizzard and Chinese developer NetEase has seen its release in China delayed just days before it was set to go live. The news arrives after the studio's Weibo (social media platform) account was banned from making new posts last week - which adds an extra dose of strangeness to the announcement.
As per this report from Reuters
, the delay is to make "multiple optimisation adjustments" to Diablo Immortal, though no new launch date was provided. As one of the most anticipated releases in the region (it has 15-million pre-registrations in China), the report goes on to state that recent regulatory crack-downs in the region on games with violent and religious content could be the reason.
Since its launch in several other markets Diablo Immortal has been met with fierce criticism based on the game's monetisation and free-to-play elements. There are several currencies, seasonal passes, loot boxes, and other systems within systems that play into progression and power that cost money. In our review-in-progress
I wrote, "Diablo: Immortal lives up to its promise of delivering a fully fledged Diablo MMO you can play on-the-go", adding "it remains to be seen exactly how the monetisation side works". The pre-release version did not have the in-game store live. So in addition to this delay in the region the game was seemingly specifically targeting, it'll be interesting to see how Blizzard responds.