The developers at Blizzard working on Diablo 4 are not shying away from creating and releasing a large amount of content, as fans would expect from a live-service game. But by choosing to release paid content in the form of both quarterly seasons and yearly expansions, Diablo 4 is opting to take the hardest road.
In an interview with Patrick Dane from Dexerto, the game’s general manager Rod Fergusson confirmed that Blizzard is looking to release annual paid expansions for Diablo 4, in addition to its quarterly season releases (the most current being the first season, Season of the Malignant).
Several outlets and gaming enthusiasts have properly drawn comparisons between Diablo 4’s plans and the Destiny 2 ecosystem implemented by Bungie. Bungie has released a large expansion for its multiplayer looter-shooter every year since 2018, including Forsaken, Beyond Light, The Witch Queen, and the most recent Lightfall. Each year also comes with four seasonal releases, each with its own premium pass.
Bungie, though, notably made a drastic change to Destiny 2 in late 2019, making the game a free-to-play title in the hopes of drawing in more players to its seasonal content/expansion model. This change in course has succeeded it seems; according to SteamCharts data, the game has retained a consistent player base (on Steam at least) since then, with occasional spikes when a big expansion releases.
Diablo 4 is setting a high bar by trying to follow in Destiny 2’s footsteps, with a few notable unique obstacles. For one, Diablo 4 still has a base game price of $70, which could deter players who don’t want to pay a large entry fee to get into a paid seasonal/expansion content loop. Despite a successful game launch, the game’s first season was not received well by any means.
But the launch for Diablo 4 was so large that an improved second season and a stacked first expansion could turn things around.