Diablo Immortal, eagerly awaited by its fans, recently launched its global launch. The game has not been released in Belgium and the Netherlands, which have strict gambling bans, including loot boxes. On the other hand, the Chinese version of the game also encountered some problems and was delayed.
Blizzard and NetEase are working together for the Chinese version of Diablo Immortal. Diablo is one of the most famous isometric games and has a unique player base. Despite this, Diablo Immortal, the latest game in the series, received the lowest user rating in its history on evaluation platforms such as Metacritic.
Despite the negative reviews of users against the game, Diablo Immortal reached 8 million downloads worldwide in just one week and earned over $ 22 million in revenue. The previous famous games in the franchise significantly impact the number of downloads and revenue.
The reason for delaying the game in China seems a bit complicated. For Diablo Immortal, expected to be released in China on June 23, the developers showed technical reasons such as “optimization, wider device range,” then the game was delayed again. On the other hand, it is thought that this delay may be caused by the “Winnie the Pooh” posts on social media.
Winnie the Pooh is a cartoon character some of us are familiar with. The cute bear character in the cartoon in question is likened to Chinese President Xi Ping by the opposition in China’s domestic politics. Various memes about this topic are circulating on social media. As an example:
In addition to the opposition, this analogy is also used in some Chinese and foreign media channels. Diablo Immortal was caught in the middle of these discussions in China. Allegedly, posts about the “bear” were made from Blizzard’s Weibo account. Some Chinese nationalists saw this post as an insult to the heads of state and made comments such as, “If I have to choose between my country and this game, I will choose my country.” It seems that it is not possible to reach this share and comments on Weibo at the moment.
Although Blizzard’s aforementioned post is circulating on the internet through some screenshots, it is unknown for what purpose this post was made and why it was deleted/removed. This means that Diablo Immortal is making a problematic entry into the Chinese market. NetEase, one of the developer partners, is badly affected as the game is delayed. NetEase shares are already down about 10% in China.
There was no comment from either company on the matter. The world gaming press is following the issue, and a statement is expected from the companies.