Diablo Immortal, the latest iteration of the long-running series, has encountered multiple criticisms ranging from its progression system to its focus on microtransactions. The problems of the free-to-play massively multiplayer online action role-playing game have been further compounded as its release in the Chinese market has been delayed, with rumors that the game may have been banned altogether.
Sportskeeda’s review of Diablo Immortal mentioned that the game was a well-crafted experience that was a worthy addition to the Diablo franchise, trapped in an unbearable microtransaction system that affects progress. The game has a terrible user rating of 0.3 on the Metacritic page.
The news of the delayed entry into the Chinese market is an additional headache for the developers. Here’s everything known about the delay so far.
A politically sensitive tweet may have stirred Diablo Immortal over his release in China
According to a Reuters report, gaming giant NetEase was supposed to release the title last week but decided to postpone it, citing the need for improvements and performing “multiple optimization tweaks”. This was followed by the game’s official Weibo account being banned from posting.
While Netease has not explained a reason for either, speculation holds that the account was banned after it was found to have criticized Xi Jinping, president of the People’s Republic of China. Shared on the game’s subreddit by u/ShiftYourCarcass, the post details the possible reason for the aforementioned delay.
The user stated that on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, the game’s official social media account posted “熊怎么还不下台”, which roughly translates to “Why won’t the bear get off?”
For some time now, netizens have compared the current leader of the Chinese government to the popular cartoon character Winne-the-Pooh. A quick internet search will reveal a number of memes on the same.
In this context, the message “exploded quickly on the Chinese internet” and was seen as “an overt provocation”. The Redditor said this led to a complete shutdown of Diablo Immortal’s marketing in China, speculating that NetEase would not be licensed to publish games for the next three years. Since the company is the local distributor for Blizzard, the post (sic) claimed:
“If that’s true [the rumor about NetEase not receiving a license for three years]it will also affect Diablo4, Overwatch 2 and WoW Dragonflight, and may even force Blizzard to switch employees in mainland China.”
The Reddit post concludes by saying it’s believed Diablo Immortal may be banned in China for the time being, with the title at the very least staring a long delay in the barrel. Chinese Diablo fans are hoping that the issue will be resolved soon and that the game will be officially released soon for them to enjoy.