Diablo IV will Have “Frequent” Expansions, Free Seasons, and Paid Battle Passes

Nathan Birch
Activision Blizzard Diablo IV

Diablo IV arrives next summer, and while early impressions have been good, there is understandable concern about how the game will be monetized. After all, Blizzard recently released the very aggressively monetized Diablo Immortal, in which players can literally spend 100s of thousands of dollars on a single character if they want. Going back further, Diablo III had its own monetization woes, including the much-derided real-money auction house.

Well, in a new interview with Eurogamer, Diablo IV director Joe Shely spelled out Blizzard’s monetization plans for the game. The long and short of it is, while they won’t be engaging in some of the scummier free-to-play-style schemes, they’ll be making use of all the modern AAA industry tools to squeeze a bit of extra cash from players. That means an in-game real-money shop, that means paid battle passes (or Season Passes as they’re calling them), and that means premium expansions.

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“The launch of Diablo 4 is just the beginning. The team that's building Diablo 4 is going to be moving from building Diablo 4 to working on the live service, and working on our expansions for the game. We're going to [release] frequent expansions which have new stories, new quests, new classes - those kinds of things; and our live service, which will feature seasons every three months that include major new seasonal features on a much grander scale than we've seen in things like Diablo 3, because again, all the people building the game are going to be working on seasons, working on expansions. And yes, it will feature a season pass that will serve as a companion to each season and its seasonal features.

The Season Pass is a companion to the season itself. […] All of the seasonal features and seasonal experience that you'll get is completely free, and everyone who's playing, who has Diablo 4, will get access to that. The season pass is on top of that and it gives access to additional cosmetics and other cool stuff that you can get. But it's absolutely not [required] - you don't have to buy it to participate in seasons.”

On the subject of the shop and Season Passes, Blizzard has reiterated the stuff they offer will be purely cosmetic – no “paying for power.” Obviously, that won’t be the case for many of the things added with expansions.

Moving onto another concern – will Diablo IV, like seemingly every recent Blizzard release, suffer from long queues and other online issues at launch? Shely swears it won’t be a problem this time, and that Blizzard is actually over-preparing for the crush of players at launch.

“We've been working very hard on our network infrastructure, on our server infrastructure, learning lessons from other launches, because of course at Blizzard we have other titles [...] So we're learning lessons from other launches that we've done recently, and our server architecture is very strong. We're preparing to host way more players than we think will actually be there, and we're very committed to having a smooth launch and having people be able to play on day one.”

Activision Blizzard has faced a series of lawsuits and other legal action on the heels of a suit filed by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) alleging widespread gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment at the Call of Duty publisher. You can get more details on that unfolding story here.

Diablo IV launches on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, and PS5 on June 6, 2023.

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