DIABLO Immortal is set to launch in China on July 25. after a delay of over a month.
The free-to-play mobile version of Diablo was originally supposed to launch on June 23. but a delay was announced days before its release date.
Gameplay from Diablo Immortal
The publisher cited “content enhancement” as the reasoning without giving a new release date.
According to a report by Bloomberg, inside sources claim the delay was caused by an inflammatory social media post.
The contents of the post have not been revealed and it has since been deleted.
However, it was apparently interpreted to be a criticism of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The post was on Weibo, a microblogging site which can be seen as China’s answer to Twitter.
Twitter is banned across the country due to China’s strict internet regulations.
Diablo Immortal’s Weibo account has been banned, with a banner at the top claiming the page is “violating relevant laws and regulations”.
In response to the delay, Activision Blizzard moved the launch forward in other Asian markets.
While Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan were originally set to receive Diablo Immortal on July 8., it was pushed forward to June 23.
This was the same date it was originally supposed to release in China.
China is one of the world’s largest gaming markets, estimated to spend $44billion (£37billion) on games every year.
Activision Blizzard was apparently eager to get Diablo Immortal into this market where the free-to-play business model is more widely accepted.
The game was critically panned in the West where many consumers believed its microtransactions were predatory.
The publisher has been accused of throttling progress by making items needed to upgrade your character exceedingly rare.
Many feel that in order to keep up with the competition, players are then forced to buy these items from the store using real money.
Some have estimated that the cost to fully upgrade your character could be as much as $550,000 (£440,000).
This is well beyond the limit of most popular free-to-play games such as Fortnite.
Written by Georgina Young on behalf of GLHF.
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