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Diablo Mortality

2018 November 21

Even though I’m a grown-up (my wife would argue against this point most likely), I still find time to play games.  Given this status, with kids, a job, and responsibilities, I have limited time to play – so the concept of a “Dad Game” comes into play.

I have a few games in my regular repertoire.  The one I play most often is Diablo 3, and that’s where this story begins …
Along with other D3 fans, I carefully monitored Blizzcon for any news about Diablo.  And there it was – Diablo Immortal.  A phone game.  A phone game?  Seriously?

It was absolutely amazing to watch the audience response, then the Dev response.  The room went cold.  The questions to Devs were – well – frankly rude but to the point.  “Is this an out-of-band April fools Day joke?” one fan shared in the session.

The response?  “You guys all have phones right?”.


Blizzard – I have to say that I absolutely love Diablo 3.

Why?  It’s the kind of game that I can jump in and play solo for as little as 15 minutes and walk away satisfied – OR – I can binge and go full multiplayer with friends.  The end-game is amazing.  Seasons have really extended my interest quite a bit.

So consider “Diablo Immortal” and why I think it’s not a good fit for your existing customer base …


Point #1 – Immersion

You can argue with me, but as compared with a 60” TV screen and a current console or a 30” monitor and a PC/Mac with a respectable video card you have a very rich and immersive experience as a gamer.

On Mobile, we’re now reduced to a small rectangle – partially obscured by my own damn fingers!


Point #2 – “Input Fidelity”

Now visualize my Console/Computer setup.  Usually I have a great controller or a high-end keyboard (mine is a new Corsair MX70 with Cherry Browns) and amazing mouse.

On Mobile, we lack “input fidelity”.  Maybe I can dock the phone and get a keyboard/mouse or connect a controller at which point you essentially have a PC.  But the fact remains that by default it’s a poor experience.

I want a comfortable environment with no input lag.  I also don’t want my view obscured by my own damn fingers.

And don’t forget that you’re at a disadvantage physically too.  Eventually you’ll want to put the phone down when your arms get shaky.  Not to mention that the phone may get pretty hot!


Point #3 – The Future is (Partially) Mobile, but Not for Serious Gamers

As a business person, I can see why Blizzard wants to go Mobile.  Why?  Everyone is doing it.  PUBG, Fortnite, and other devs are all jumping on mobile and the business model is actually pretty sound.  Mobile gamers are well-conditioned to monetization.  In fact they’re often ok with it.  So it makes sense to explore that market.

There is, however, some massive caveats for “serious gamers” …

If you’re in any way serious about your gaming experience, you’re going to be thinking about Twitch.  That means you’re going to invest in a solid video camera, a higher quality microphone, maybe a green screen, and more.  That all merits the use of a computer – even when you’re playing on a console.

You should also think about your network experience.  If you’re in multiplayer mode, a hard-wired network adapter is preferable.  Sure, you may have solid WiFi but a solid physical network certainly beats out WiFi and any other option for sheer stability.


A Reminder About Surveys

With all this in mind, I do want to share a thought:  “Why aren’t you asking us what we want?”  I’d argue that Customer Success should be in play with Video Games as much as it is with an other SaaS organization.

In Customer Success, we’ve learned to regularly send out surveys and work to solicit the “Voice of the Customer”.  The easiest way to get at this information is – simply – surveys.  They’re easy to set up and if they’re designed well, they’ll help Product teams understand what customers like, what they hate, and what they want.

I don’t recall ever seeing a survey from Blizzard.  Maybe that happened, but as much as I’ve played D3 lately I’m a target for feedback (or should be).

Again to close this out, I don’t think anybody disagrees that Mobile isn’t a good market but you certainly should expect responses like what you experienced at Blizzcon 2018 from your most active fans.

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