At BlizzCon 2018, fans reacted in an overwhelmingly negative manner to the announcement of Diablo Immortal. While there were several contributing factors to explain that reaction, the recent announcement of a full-fledged Path of Exile Mobile game that sacrifices none of the PC version’s complexity makes it clear that Diablo 3 could easily be a mobile port, and would be a far better option than Diablo Immortal.
The announcement trailer for Path of Exile Mobile, shown below, jabs — without much subtlety — at how the developers wanted to make a game with zero compromise, which is to say, a great game that just so happened to be played on a phone. Without naming Diablo Immortal, they list most of the complaints that players have against that upcoming project, including how it is not being developed by Blizzard, but was farmed out to a third party, and how it is a watered-down version of the game on PC.
Years ago, the idea of porting Diablo 3 onto a phone would have been a touch too extreme, but with the increasing power of smart phones, the proven concept of playing on less powerful hardware with the successful Nintendo Switch port, and the visuals of Diablo Immortal that we have seen so far, this is no longer the case.
Not porting Diablo 3 to phones is a missed opportunity, especially because cross progression between platforms could have been a big selling point not only for those who still play the game, but to lure players back or to buy it for the first time on PC or console. Imagine having a full-fledged Diablo 3 game on your phone and knowing that progression made counted towards a Seasonal Journey, for instance.
Beyond that, the case for Diablo 3 being ported to mobile devices can be made because in many ways the game is already such a simplified sequel compared to Diablo 2 or Path of Exile. There is little in terms of decision making for gear and optimal end game builds, and if Path of Exile can accommodate its own system of vast, complex character customization, there is no reason for Diablo 3 not to work as well.
We have not yet seen exactly how Blizzard will seek to monetize Diablo Immortal, though speculation is that resources for playtime will be time gated, or that one class will be free and additional classes must be purchased individually. It is hard to say if a port of Diablo 3 would be as profitable, but there is no doubt that it would be better for players, especially those who still enjoy the game on their PCs and console.