Monday 5 September 2016

Diablo III Loses Out to Overwatch in China

Ok, everyone knew this one was coming. With so much of Blizzard's resources going into Overwatch and with Diablo III all but sidelined, it was always a question on "when" not "if" that the latter would have to give up all the lofty records it had set following its controversial yet superb launch. Overwatch has become the most popular game ever some time ago, but the other day, it took ownership of another significant record, yet again dethroning Diablo III: Overwatch has just become the fastest-selling PC game in China, a position previously held by Diablo III.

While the pedigree of the two games is obviously the same, they are as different from one another as possible. Unlike Overwatch, which is a brand new IP, Diablo III was a highly anticipated sequel of a superb and highly successful IP, which obviously gave it a major head start marketing-wise. It came out almost a decade after Diablo II and it made its debut to raving reviews, despite the controversy caused by its DRM scheme, which required it to be online all the time, even in single-player mode. With consoles, this was not a problem though and in the end it all got brushed aside in the frenzy surrounding the launch.

Being the shooter that it is, Overwatch is clearly a different breed, for which constant connection is a given. Despite all the differences between the two titles though, it is clear they have been cast from the same mould: they both feature characters recognizable through their silhouettes alone, and the red outline for the said silhouettes is the same for both.

Overall, Overwatch has generated a bump of some 13% in the active player count through Blizzard's various IPs and that's massive. Diablo III has doubtlessly generated quite a bump of its own back in its heyday, but lately, it has probably been bleeding players massively.

Philip Thalberg has been an e-sport junkie since 2004, when he started working for the world's top competitive gaming operation.