WASHINGTON – Early access for “Diablo IV” began Thursday night — but the rollout of the highly anticipated action role-playing video game didn't come without speedbumps, notably for PlayStation users.
While the early access launch of Blizzard Entertainment's “Diablo IV” appeared to go smoothly for many players who pre-purchased eligible editions of the game, some PS5 users reported receiving an invalid licensing error message. Blizzard acknowledged the issue, and later said a server-side balance hotfix was rolled out.
A hotfix is a software upgrade that an target a very specific issue and typically does not interrupt usage.
“Diablo IV” marks the latest installment of Blizzard “Diablo” series, which began in 1996, and arrives more than a decade after “Diablo III” was released in May 2012. While early access kicked off Thursday, the game's official launch is slated for next week.
Rod Fergusson, general manager of Diablo, has described “Diablo IV” as “our most brutal vision of Sanctuary,” the fictional world where Diablo is set. It brings “the darkness of the original game” and builds on key aspects of previous installments of the series, he added.
In April, Blizzard Entertainment parent company Activision Blizzard reported a net revenue of $2.38 billion for the first quarter of 2023 — up from $1.77 billion for the first three months of 2022. At the time, Activision noted that presales for “Diablo IV” were strong, pointing to successful public testing of the game.
Here's what you need to know about Thursday's early access launch and the coming official release of “Diablo IV.”
WHAT TIME DOES DIABLO IV RELEASE?
“Diablo IV” will be officially released on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, depending on the time zone of where you live. In the U.S., the game will launch at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT) on Tuesday.
While the official release of “Diablo IV” is scheduled for next week, early access began a few days earlier — kicking off on Thursday or Friday, also depending on time zones. Early access was set to be available for players who pre-purchased the digital deluxe or ultimate edition of the game.
Players who have already purchased “Diablo IV” can also pre-load the game on some devices ahead of the launch. Pre-loading any edition is currently available for Windows PC, Xbox and PlayStation, according to Blizzard.
‘UNABLE TO FIND LICENSE’ FOR DIABLO IV?
Again, while early access appeared to launch smoothly for many players, some PS5 users reported receiving a error message — which read “unable to find a valid license for Diablo IV,” according to social media and posts on Blizzard's community forums. The error seemed to impact PS5 players the most, but some other users reported getting the message on additional devices, including Xbox.
Blizzard acknowledged the PlayStation users' reports in a forum post Thursday night. Global community development director Adam Fletcher later said that a server-side balance hotfix for “Diablo IV” was rolled out on all platforms.
It's unclear how many early access players have been impacted by the error. As of Friday morning, some frustrated users on Blizzard's forum said they were still having trouble accessing the game.
The Associated Press reached out to Blizzard and PlayStation Friday morning for statements.
WHAT ARE THE DIABLO IV CHARACTER CLASSES?
According to Blizzard, “Diablo IV” is set decades after the events of “Diablo III: Reaper of Souls.” The demon Lilith and the angel Inarius have become enemies and launched a war against one another.
Upon the launch of “Diablo IV,” players will be able to enter one of five classes: the Druids, Rogues, Sorceresses, Barbarians or Necromancers.
“Diablo IV” offers cross-platform play and progression on Windows PC, Xbox Series X'S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4, as well as couch co-op, upon its launch, Blizzard said.
ACTIVISION FINANCIAL RESULTS FOR 2022, MICROSOFT DEAL
Activision — which is also the maker of “Call of Duty,” “Candy Crush” and ”World of Warcraft" — reported a net revenue of $7.53 billion for 2022, down from $8.8 billion for 2021.
In January 2022, Microsoft announced plans to acquire Activision — but, more than a year later, the blockbuster deal is still in jeopardy. While the European Union approved the $69 billion purchase last month, British regulators blocked the deal over competition concerns. U.S. authorities are also trying to thwart the merger.
The deal has been scrutinized by regulators around the world over fears that it would give Microsoft and its Xbox console control of Activision’s hit franchises. Fierce opposition has been driven by rival Sony, which makes PlayStation.
Activision and Microsoft are appealing the U.K. decision to a tribunal. If the appeal fails, Microsoft would be forced to either scrap the deal or carve out the U.K. as a separate market, which appeared to be an unfeasible option, Liam Deane, a game industry analyst for tech research and advisory firm Omdia, previously told The Associated Press.