Blizzard: Diablo III may or may not hit 2011

Activision was playing coy when talking about a new Blizzard game for 2011 in today’s financial conference. First, they made a footnote for their 2011 projections that current projections do not include a new Blizzard game for 2011. Then they briefly mentioned that if there wouldn’t be such a game this year, it would result in two Blizzard titles for 2012.

Elaborating on an investor’s question about this and about the status of Diablo III, Blizzard commented that development on Diablo III is “going well.” They didn’t want to lock down a specific release date because they want to see how well the upcoming beta will go, and how much they will need to change as a result. Also, they are Blizzard and they like solid release dates as much as they like a root canal.

Starcraft II and Battle.net’s success during the Cataclysm launch was a big focus of the conference today, with Battle.net seemingly having inspired Activision to follow a similar approach for their online strategy. With no Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm for 2011, it’s safe to say that the previously leaked Blizzard release schedule was incorrect about a 2011 release for the upcoming expansion. Activision Blizzard also has high hopes for the new Blizzard MMO, but no details were given about that.

In other words: expect a Diablo III beta this year, Diablo III to hit early 2012 at the earliest, and Starcraft II‘s expansion to hit late 2012 with some luck. You hiring, Pachter?

Maurice Tan