Back in November 2021’s Activision-Blizzard quarterly investor call, Blizzard’s Mike Ybarra spoke about the company’s vision for the Diablo franchise. He essentially said that Diablo II Resurrected, Diablo Immortal, and Diablo IV will each offer different things to different segments of the gaming populace. Diablo II Resurrected appealed to nostalgia fans, something we saw with its huge response in South Korea. Diablo Immortal appeals to mobile fans who prioritize being able to play anywhere. And Diablo IV is being designed for that hardcore grimdark fanbase.
These comments kind of got lost in the wake of the call since it was coming on the heels of that whole Bobby Kotick threatened to have his assistant killed expose, to say nothing of Jen Oneal blasting the company for trying to use her to whitewash its image. But I keep thinking back to it now as we contemplate the future of the Warcraft IP – and the future of the MMO genre. I don’t particularly love the idea of chopping up IPs into a bunch of different smaller games that are appealing to very small slices of the gaming audience, with narrow content scopes and low ambitions for user acquisition. I don’t want to see more market segmentation; I want to see less.
How about you? Is the MMO market too segmented?