Blizzard’s Plan To Combat Emulation Of New ‘Diablo’ Title: Just Release It On PC

from the the-devil's-work dept

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a flurry of activity centering around video game emulation. Much of that has been focused on how a few companies, namely Nintendo, have reacted to emulation sites. Almost universally, these companies see emulation as a threat and try to get them shut down. Often times those same companies use the market demand in the public that those emulation sites created to sell inferior versions of these older or emulatable games. In other words, the lesson learned here is that the default gaming industry position on emulation is that it must be destroyed so that the company’s wares can only be bought and used in the manner in which that company desires, market demand be damned.

Blizzard, in the middle of its acquisition by Microsoft, found itself staring down emulation of a slightly different kind recently. In 2018, Blizzard announced Diablo Immortal, a game specifically designed with touch controls for iOS and Android devices. The company recently announced that the game would be released in June, but suddenly had updated the public as well that a full PC version would also be released. Part of the reasoning for that was simply to reach the widest audience… but part of it was also a realization that mobile device emulation exists.

Blizzard also realized a lot of people would just use something like the free Android emulator BlueStacks to play Diablo Immortal on their PCs anyway. That experience would be inferior to a custom-built, native PC app, one which Blizzard would have more control over. While both the mobile versions of the game and the PC port will be out on June 2 for free, Blizzard is calling the PC version an “experiment,” and as such the game will launch on PC in a beta state and will be updated and improved as Blizzard receives feedback.

There’s almost certainly more to this than mere quality control, but that’s an important aspect of this. If the company believed fans would emulate the mobile game out of a desire to play it on their PC screens, well, that’s market demand. Blizzard deciding to meet that demand officially makes all the sense in the world.

But it’s almost certainly the case that a concern over piracy is part of this as well. Once the game is out, it will likely be easy to go find pirated versions of mobile game on the internet and then use an emulator to play it. What Blizzard has decided to do by releasing a PC version to combat that is to do what we’ve long advocated: compete with piracy.

And there’s an actual reason to buy, too! Sure, the public can still go out and pirate an .apk and slap it onto an Android emulator. But I can pretty much guarantee you that the native PC version will play better and be more stable.

So good on Blizzard for seeing emulation as something to compete with rather than something to be disappeared.

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: blizzard

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Blizzard’s Plan To Combat Emulation Of New ‘Diablo’ Title: Just Release It On PC”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:


“Piracy” can refer to copyright infringement in general. Any unauthorized sharing and modification of a copyrighted work may be called “piracy”.
It goes to show that “piracy” is a charged term which copyright maximalists weaponize to make people think that unauthorized sharing of intangible, nonrival goods is comparable to violently raiding ships to take physical goods and lives.

Naughty Autie says:

Re: Re:

Any unauthorized sharing and modification of a copyrighted work may be called “piracy”.

Yep. Any time you post a link to an article here, that’s piracy. Any time you post a comment on a article (thus modifying the appearance of the page), that’s piracy. After all, this website was automatically copyrighted 25 years ago. ;D

Anonymous Coward says:

PC version means exclusive client. Exclusive client means direct payment for microtransactions. Direct payment means Google or Apple don’t take a cut. I see this with several other mobile games I play. Google Play Store often has point earnings and incentives to pay through their store, while the PC apps end up creating their own (sometimes even more lucrative) incentives to get you to pay through them instead.

I don’t know what monetization in Diablo Immortal looks like, but I’d be willing to bet this is almost certainly about clawing back money from store cuts.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...