Diablo 3 is now a byword in disastrous launches for online-only games. How did Blizzard mess it up so badly?
Diablo 3 game to us from a developer with experience running one of the world’s biggest massively multiplayer online games – World of Warcraft – and the infrastructure to back it up. So why were launch day and the the first few weeks such a disaster, with constant connection errors?
At the time Blizzard cited very high demand for the RPG as the cause of the issues, but we kind of laughed that off. After all, who hadn’t expected demand for one of the most anticipated sequels ever?
It turns out, Blizzard wasn’t kidding: demand hugely outweighed its most ambitious projections. Speaking at a GDC session reported by PCGamesN, Diablo 3 game director Josh Mosqueira said Blizzard was just plain wrong about the popularity of its own game.
“The sales team had projected 6.666 million units to be sold in the first year; even our sales guys loved Diablo,” he said.
“We got that in the first couple of days – we just didn’t know what to think, it was mind boggling.
“Even our most outlandish estimates for day one, ended up being massively conservative in reality. And it hurt – people had been waiting for ten years to play this game, and the worse fear of an always-online game, is not being able to play. That’s exactly what happened.”
Mosqueira said that for Blizzard, “the sales didn’t matter”, because they felt so “shitty” about letting players down.
If you’re a Diablo fan it’s really worth going to have a look at the full feature on PCGamesN, as Mosqueira also went into what went wrong with Diablo 3’s the loot cycle and auction house.