Porting a predominately PC franchise to consoles is not like playing with fire, but with the hottest embers that induce instant death. It's a gamble, sometimes a tough sell, but at the risk of alienating an audience is potentially millions of dollars. Blizzard thinks it's sitting on a gold mine -- slowly adding credence to long-standing rumours of a Diablo 3 console version.
Bashiok, a Community Manager at Blizzard, recently tweeted Josh Mosquiera is lead designer on the console project. To clarify, this doesn't necessarily confirm the developer is following through. Adversely, his speaking-out obscures where the studio is in the development cycle, leaving more questions than answers regarding the seriousness of these claims.
Quick to counteract the fervor, a Blizzard representative via email told Wired: "Bashiok’s response on Twitter was intended as a confirmation that we’re actively exploring the possibility of developing a console version of Diablo III, as we’ve mentioned in the past. This is not a confirmation that Diablo III is coming to any console platform.” Though, the exactness of Bashiok's original tweet raises even more questions.
Simply, from a business perspective, Blizzard is insane not to capitalize on rumours. Making a notable title available to everyone means higher profitability -- ultimately the driving force behind game development today -- but doing so runs the risk of dampening ties with the established crowd. The diehards agonizingly weeping over scratched copies of Diablo 2, pining to frolic with more cows, might feel violated. Or in extreme cases, betrayed. And that apparent distrust could lessen sales from PC users, the guaranteed consumers; a force to be reckoned with.
Just the tense excitement caused from one insignificant tweet is enough to warrant a console version. But, Blizzard must consider if any interaction will occur between platforms. There is precedent, however because of how staunchly unrelenting Microsoft is opening its service, the Xbox version will likely be standalone. Only owning a Xbox, I am ashamed of Microsoft's unwillingness to cooperate.
Making great strides to create false headlines, Diablo 3 likely hits later this year. Currently in closed beta, Blizzard hasn't divulged any additional information on an open beta or even a release date, but surely the formal announcement will cause a stir. Jeff out.