Despite anticipating shipping late 2011, Blizzard has decided to extend the closed beta to add additional testers. The closed beta started just recently – on the 20th of this month. Participants were not tied to an NDA; friends and family were encouraged to try out the game as well.
CEO Mike Morhaime stated the following:
“With every game we make, the temptation is always very strong to launch as soon as possible. However, we didn’t put so many years of work into Diablo III to release a game that was almost ready. The beta test is going very well, and we look forward to making the most of the extra time we’re taking to deliver an experience that lives up to our vision for the game and the expectations of our players. Next year is going to be an incredibly busy one for Blizzard, and we hope an incredibly fun one for Blizzard gamers.”
Analysis: There’s been huge anticipation for this game among the community and the industry, but what’s notable about this is that this makes Diablo III and Star Wars: The Old Republic share a release window. These are two highly anticipated games, and although their style of gameplay is different, their fanbases are similar. This leads me to believe that Blizzard is doing this intentionally to directly compete.
There’s also a very high likelihood that many more details on the release and play of Diablo III will be announced at BlizzCon late next month. I will be covering this event, so be sure to follow closely October 21st and 22nd.