Publisher Blizzard announced that Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is available in an Open Beta in China. While the game has been out for a while, China’s separate market always requires some transition time.
In the Open Beta, players will be able to unlock the Crusader character to join the other five options. Moreover, Act V and the free-roaming Adventure Mode can be unlocked as well. To access this new content, players will need to purchase either a Premium Package for (Renminbi) RMB198 or splurge on the Digital Deluxe edition of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls for RMB388. In the latter, there are additional trinkets, such as dyes, pets and Valla the Demon Hunter, a playable character in Blizzard’s Hero of the Storm (HOTS). Cross promotion to your own version of an arena game is always important. Other Blizzard properties like Diablo can be found in the HOTS as well.
Anyway, a big difference for the Chinese market is that most games need to alter their model to satiate the free-to-play domination going on there, where Guild Wars 2 is a rare exception. As such, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls has a core experience in China that can be played for free. In the free version, it’s possible to play the first four acts and get up to level 70.
It might sound strange for companies to throw away payment models, but expanding to the Chinese market is becoming somewhat of a mandatory concern for those who want to keep up. Just recently, Gamesindustry.biz noted that China will overtake Japan in their digital games consumption. Moreover, Asia will make up 38% of the market, spending almost $20 billion in products.
These are interesting times. If you have some firsthand experience playing Diablo III: Reaper of Souls in China, we’d sure be thrilled to find out more. At least we can learn from this that our gaming world is nothing if not adaptable, when it needs to be.