Ex-Blizzard Producer Defends Frustrated Diablo Fans

Three days ago, Blizzard announced Diablo Immortal, a new mobile title in the Diablo franchise. Despite Blizzard’s best attempts to temper fan expectations last month, many fans took Blizzard’s announcement as an act of betrayal; a backstab to longtime Diablo fans that have been waiting for a new mainline entry in the series.

As a result, the last few days have brought us some kind of Diablogate, a dizzying cultural dialogue about the (often parasocial) relationships between players and game developers. While scores of Diablo fans have taken to social media to express their displeasure with Blizzard, others have come out to defend Blizzard from the backlash. Frustrated Diablo fans maintain that the announcement of Diablo Immortal was ultimately a slight (or, at the very least, a complete marketing blunder), while some of Blizzard’s defenders believe that Diablo fans are simply acting needlessly entitled.

One of those that believe the former is Mark Kern, a former employee at Blizzard. Earlier yesterday, Kern posted a series of tweets on his personal Twitter account sympathizing with frustrated Diablo fans that were disappointed by Diablo Immortal’s announcement. “Blizzard gamers are not smugly ‘entitled.’ Nor are they toxic,” Kern wrote in the first tweet of his Twitter thread. “I hate to say it, but what you are seeing is Blizzard not understanding gamers anymore,” Kern continued.

Kern goes on to write that he’s not inherently against the idea of a mobile Diablo title, in fact, he “would have wanted one as an option.” Kern ultimately blames Diablogate on Blizzard’s poor marketing, pinning the fan backlash on Blizzard’s poor communication with fans, writing, “This isn’t a toxic gamer issue, it’s not an entitlement issue. It’s just bad PR handling.”

Simultaneously, Kern suggests that something about Blizzard’s Diablo hype might have been slightly nefarious, referring to the announcement of Diablo Immortal as “a huge bait-n-switch feeling moment.” Expanding on this thought, Kern writes, “Blizzard coyly played up the Diablo hype, which is a good move, but failed to anticipate that their PC based audience was going to expect…well…a PC based announcement.”

Kern acknowledges that Blizzard recently reemphasized that they’re working on multiple Diablo projects, however, fails to mention that the developer already emphasized this notion a month ago. After Diablo rumors started rumbling after Blizzard released its BlizzCon 2018 calendar, Blizzard attempted to clarify these rumors, stating, “we won’t be ready to announce all of our projects, we do intend to share some Diablo-related news with you at the show.”

Kern simply didn’t have a cup of coffee with Blizzard, he has fingerprints all over the company’s history. Boasting credits on titles like World of Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo II, Kern worked on most of Blizzard’s iconic franchises before leaving the company to work at Red 5 Studios in the mid-2000s.

You can read all of Kern’s thoughts on his Twitter account. Additionally, you can read about DualShockers‘ hands-on impressions of Diablo Immortal here.

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