The real money auction house in Diablo 3 is over.
When Blizzard announced a third entry in the Diablo series in the year…ooh, I dunno, 1973? Players were absolutely buzzing to get another crack at the youngest of the three Prime Evils, and to see if anyone could identify their Horadric Cubes for them.
In the lead-up to the game, we heard of Blizzard’s plans to launch an in-game auction house for players to bid on objects found in the game for real money. Because their other title World of Warcraft (you know, the one that only pulled in $93 million in April) forbids the sale of in-game objects – and as such is missing out on a cut from all the people that are doing it privately anyway – they decided to go a different way with the latest of their other extremely popular games.
The in-game real money auction house was scheduled to go live the week after the game was released in May, but some monumental server fails – Error 37, anyone? – meant that players couldn’t get online to play at all, causing a big delay to the rollout of the auction house.
But this week the game’s producers have acknowledged that the auction house “undermines” gameplay, with one’s disposable income a major factor in how powerful their character is, and how advanced their status within the online community. Given the game’s historic popularity in its “kill monsters to get cool loot” roots, according to Blizzard’s John Hight, shutting down the auction house in favour of a new in-game system “will result in a much more rewarding game experience for our players”.
Diablo 3 recently made the move over to consoles without the auction house facility, which arguably makes for a level playing field for all concerned. While the decision to cut off this major revenue stream will prove costly for Blizzard, it’s a move which has been coming for some time in order to enhance players’ enjoyment of a more balanced game.
What do you make of the decision to shut down the in-game auction house in Diablo 3? Tweet @AGuideToGeekdom with your thoughts!