Diablo Immortal has generated over $24M in player transactions in the two weeks since the game was released, despite the critical reception for the game being relatively poor. In the days after the game came out creators and outlets were critical of the way the game was monetized, with some calling it pay-to-win but it seems so far to be working out for creators Activision Blizzard.
The game, which was made in conjunction with Chinese firm Netease, is a free-to-play dungeon crawler available on Android and IOS. According to a report by Pocket Gamer.biz, the title has generated roughly $13M from Apple users, with the other $11M coming from Android stores as of the time of publication.
More than 50% of the total figure came from just two nations, with 43% and 23% of the $24M generated in the U.S. and South Korea, respectively. This means over $10M has been spent in the states alone on in-game transactions so far, or $688,000 a day since the game’s June 2 release date.
The monetization of Diablo Immortal is so aggressive it’s actually illegal in some countries, with both the Netherlands and Belgium banning the game due to their laws around ‘loot boxes.'
A Blizzard employee confirmed this is due to Immortal falling foul of gambling laws, commenting on Reddit that "The loot boxes in the game are against the law in your country, so unless the gambling restrictions change, the game will not be released in the Netherlands and Belgium."
Interestingly, despite having been pegged for gambling in those nations, the game is only rated as being a 15+ title, meaning anyone 15 years old and over should be fine to play. The age of consent for gambling in many nations is 18, which raises questions about the ethics of marketing the game as being suitable for teens that young.
By comparison, EA confirmed in 2021 that their Ultimate Team setup in FIFA and other sports titles made $1.6B over the course of 2020, accounting for 29% of their income that year. This sort of revenue has pushed more developers towards the ‘live service’ model, and no doubt Diablo’s success in the face of a critical panning will only accelerate that trend.