Boy, that sure didn't take long. Blizzard announced today that Diablo 4, the latest iteration of its demon-clobbering action-RPG, will be coming to Steam on October 17, and is available for wishlisting now.
Diablo 4 on Steam will support cross-platform play with other versions of the game—Battle.net, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5—and will offer unique Steam-specific features including Steam achievements and integration with the Steam friends list. It will also be playable on the Steam Deck.
The launch of Diablo 4 on Steam will coincide with the start of the Season of Blood, the game's second season and Blizzard's hoped-for bounceback from the mess of season one. The Season of the Malignant, as it's known, did not go over well with fans, thanks to a mix of nerfs, loot, and balance issues that were almost universally negatively received. The reaction was bad enough that Blizzard held an emergency livestream in which community manager Adam Fletcher acknowledged that the changes made by the pre-season patch were "not fun," adding, "We don't plan on doing a patch like this ever again."
It was quite an admission about such a high-profile game, but it did little to mollify fans because even though Blizzard promised changes, nothing of significance was immediately reverted, and the most promising and meaningful changes were still far off. Blizzard was still undoing aspects of that pre-release as recently as a couple weeks ago, more than two months after that "we goofed" livestream.
That has the potential to make the Steam release of Diablo 4 very interesting, and not necessarily in a good way. When Overwatch 2 debuted on Steam in August, it was immediately buried in negative user reviews: In just one day its rating had sunk to "overwhelmingly negative," and within a few more days it was wearing the dubious crown of "worst rated game on Steam." Of course, this doesn't mean it's the worst game by any measure, or even "bad": There are legitimate issues with the game, sure, but it's also a reflection of gamer frustration with everything from matchmaking headaches to microtransactions, the behavior of other players, Activision's treatment of its employees, and general gamer ennui.
Regardless of the vagaries of Steam's user review system, having just 10% positive reviews really does not look good, and I think it's reasonable to expect that Diablo 4 could suffer a similar fate. Players remain unhappy with the state of the game (and Activision Blizzard), and while they have no direct avenue to express that unhappiness on Battle.net, Steam is a different story. I won't be the least surprised if Diablo 4 is swamped by a tsunami of negative reviews just like Overwatch 2 was. It may not have a big impact on Blizzard's bottom line—as we noted at the time, Overwatch 2 was among Steam's top sellers by revenue even as it was being hammered by negative reviews—but it's ugly, and it really reinforces the fact that the era when Blizzard did not miss is long past.
We'll see how it goes in a couple weeks. In the meantime, for a closer look at what's coming in Diablo 4's Season of Blood, be sure to check out our rundown of all the big changes coming in the season 2 patch. It actually looks pretty promising: Associate editor and resident Diablo 4 expert Tyler Colp said the patch promises to fix almost every problem he's had with the game since launch.