Diablo IV, the latest installment in the video game series that has won millions of fans over more than 25 years, broke its publisher Blizzard’s internal record with more than $666 million in sales since its June 6 debut .
The game combines elements from different parts of the franchise, from the dark and gothic atmosphere of battling demons to the always-on approach in which players can connect with friends and strangers to slay monsters.
The $666 million in sales was a wink at the game’s demonic theme.
Rod Ferguson, Diablo’s general manager and senior vice president of Blizzard Entertainment, attributed the initial success to the company’s willingness to work across platforms while embracing the different characteristics of today’s games and the franchise’s legacy.
“We’re really trying to appeal to a younger audience,” Mr Ferguson said in an interview. He said the company is less concerned about making older fans accustomed to earlier Diablo games buy the newest game. “You can see it in our marketing if you pay attention,” Mr Ferguson added.
Why it matters: This is a triumph for the company after a difficult time.
Activision Blizzard — formed in 2008 following the merger of Activision and Blizzard — has had a rough couple of years.
The Federal Trade Commission has moved to block the company’s proposed acquisition by Microsoft. The deal has also been called into question in other countries, with regulators arguing that a potentially anti-competitive integration could damage the future of the video game industry. (Microsoft and Activision Blizzard are up to the challenge.)
Activision Blizzard is also facing employee unrest and lawsuits over a “frat boy” culture that discriminates against women at the company. In 2021, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said the company will commit $250 million over the next five years to hiring more women and improving diversity.
Context: Blizzard is having trouble releasing games.
Despite having a catalog of popular games like World of Warcraft, StarCraft and Overwatch, Blizzard has had trouble launching its major properties and franchises.Recently it was linked with emission Overwatch 2. Players were unhappy with early technical issues and fundamental changes to gameplay.
Compared to past games, the release of Diablo IV seems to be going well. There have only been some issues with extended load times due to the high demands of playing the game.
It also got a free — if unexpected — promotion last week after a tweet showing a photo of a promotional billboard for Diablo IV in Manhattan went viral. Billboard messages have taken on a new ominous meaning after smoke from wildfires in Canada turned city skylines orange.
The message read: “Welcome to Hell, New York.”