Speculation: Diablo IV in 2022 or Q1 2023?

Rhykker recently posted a video with some interesting interpretations from the Activision Blizzard Q2 2021 investors call.

Daniel Alegre started his operational highlights across business units with a shocking revelation (read full transcript):

The launch of Burning Crusade Classic in June marked the start or what is intended to be a very significant 18 month period for content releases. MAUs was 26 million.

Well, what does this really mean? (Read after the break)

There aren’t many interpretations one can understand from that sentence. Either he is referring to a 18 month plan to release Burning Crusade Classic content (Black Temple, Karazhan, Zul’Aman, etc.)… or he is talking globally across all Blizzard Entertainment’s video games.

The latter is more plausible because, right after, he mentions MAUs was 26 million. We know for a fact that World of Warcraft doesn’t have 26 million MAUs. Therefore, this is in reference to Blizzard Entertainment’s global MAUs (which include Diablo III, StarCraft II, Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Warcraft III, and World of Warcraft — among other games).

The website ActivePlayers.io lists the approximate World of Warcraft Monthtly Active Players and it never reached 7 million from January 2019 to date. Thus, in Daniel Alegre’s quote above the 26 million MAUs refers to all of Blizzard games.

The thing Rhykker is speculating here is that Diablo IV might be releasing in early 2023. My own opinion is that possibly before that.

Diablo IV reached a milestone some time ago, when the internal build was updated from 0.0.1 to 0.2.1. That’s a significant build update. There is also the variable that more developers are being hired

Alegre: “We’re doubling down on our development recruiting as we expand the scope and vision of our franchises.”

Kotick: “Now turning to Diablo, we have added hundreds of developers to the franchise over the last three years, and we continue to grow our teams as we prepare to launch three unique and complementary experiences across platforms.”

The graphic I made below is not real or accurate. It is to visualize the 18 month plan as a mock up. The order in which these games are released is also not based in reality. Diablo IV could be released anywhere between mid-2022 and February 2023 (within the 18 month plan).

Hearthstone is shown here a few times taking in mind the 2021 Hearthstone expansion plan, so we should expect a similiar or approximate schedule for 2022:

  • Madness at the Darkmoon Faire — November 17, 2020
  • Forged in the Barrens — March 30, 2021
  • Core — March 30, 2021
  • United in Stormwind — August 3, 2021

Diablo Immortal will release anywhere between January 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022 (which is the approximate timeframe encompassing the first half of 2022).

Finally, Diablo IV and Overwatch 2 might be released somewhere between mid-2022 and February 2023 — if we are to believe the 18-months plan stated in the investors call. The other possibility for Diablo IV is that Daniel Alegre might not have accounted for Diablo IV in that 18 months plan, and that the game is slated for 2024-2025 (which we hope is not the case).

To wrap up this article, I did not place any of the two Warcraft mobile games in the graphic, but maybe these will be announced at BlizzConline 2022 (if they stick to the February date).

The question is whether they learned from the Diablo Immortal 2018 announcement and plan to ship both Warcraft mobile games shortly after the announcement; and whether the release of both Warcraft mobile games are within this 18 months plan; or beyond March 2023 / 2024+.

Either way, things look very interesting for players.

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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts

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