Diablo 4's open beta might be real soon

Diablo 4's Lilith
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

When Blizzard set Diablo 4's release date to June 6, it also announced that it would get an open beta. Right now, you can't sign up for it anywhere, but if you preorder the game, you're promised early access. According to the game's producer, it might be coming very soon.

Last week, Diablo 4 producer Rod Fergusson wrote on Twitter that the start date for the open beta will be announced soon. "If only we were presenting at some sort of gaming moment this month where one might announce such a thing…" he said, which could potentially be in reference to IGN's Fan Fest 2023 stream later this month.

IGN lists Diablo 4 as one of the games it will feature during one of its streams on February 17 and 18. Neither Blizzard or the Diablo social media accounts have said to expect any announcements this month. But given Fergusson's comment and Diablo 4's impending release date, this seems like the right time to drop a date, whether it's at IGN's event or another one.

Diablo 4 has already gone through a Blizzard "friends and family" alpha test and another, wider playtest that both resulted in several minutes of leaked footage (oops), and it also invited Diablo diehards to an endgame beta test last September.

I played through the game's first area last year and can confirm that it definitely looks and plays like Diablo. The open world structure doesn't actually feel that different from Diablo 3, but Blizzard has said that the full game will let you travel across its big map and choose which region you want to play in. The preview build was locked to the snowy Fractured Peaks zone and, while the demon slaying felt intact, the game's quests and dialogue were unfinished, with placeholder text and text-to-speech voices in place of final assets. It's very likely that I played an old build, so the open beta could resemble a much more finished game.

Compared to Diablo 3, Diablo 4 plans to look a lot more like a live service game. It will require you to play online and will bring in other players to aid you in its open world events. It won't be free-to-play, but will include a battle pass tied to its endgame seasonal content—which will start after the game's launch. All of this will probably take considerable playtesting to get right.

It's common for Blizzard to run multiple betas in the run up to its releases. Both Overwatch 2 and World of Warcraft: Dragonflight let players test the game in its final stages pretty close to their releases. I wouldn't be surprised to see Diablo 4's open beta start within the next two months, giving everyone enough time to get a glimpse of its scope and help prepare it for launch. Nobody wants to go through another error 37 situation again.

Associate Editor

Tyler has covered games, games culture, and hardware for over a decade before joining PC Gamer as Associate Editor. He's done in-depth reporting on communities and games as well as criticism for sites like Polygon, Wired, and Waypoint. He's interested in the weird and the fascinating when it comes to games, spending time probing for stories and talking to the people involved. Tyler loves sinking into games like Final Fantasy 14, Overwatch, and Dark Souls to see what makes them tick and pluck out the parts worth talking about. His goal is to talk about games the way they are: broken, beautiful, and bizarre.