Diablo 3 primed for 'early' 2012 launch

Diablo 3 won't launch until 2012, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime announced today. But Diablo fanatics can still take a spin through a beta version of the new game.

Diablo 3 is now set to ship in 2012. Here, a still from the latest installment in the Diablo franchise.

Diablo 2, a deeply dark dungeon crawl – and one of the most beloved fantasy games of all time – was published in June of 2000. Diablo 3 was slated to arrive this year – more than 11 years later. However, Diablo 3 will now launch sometime in "early" 2012. So says Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime, who broke the news about the Diablo delay in a post over on the Diablo blog.

"[T]his week we pulled together people from all of the teams involved with the game to decide whether we felt it would be ready before the end of December, and we grudgingly came to the conclusion that it would not," Morhaime wrote. "Ultimately, we feel that to deliver an awesome Diablo sequel that lives up to our expectations and yours as well, we should take a little more time and add further polish to a few different elements of the game."

But fear not! It's not all doom and gloom. For one, by delaying the launch of the game, Blizzard will be delivering a better product, thus saving us in the tech press from digging through countless angry missives from disgruntled gamers. Better yet: the beta version of Diablo 3, which went live earlier this week, will be expanded, giving Diablo diehards an advance look at the latest installment in the franchise.

So how does the new Diablo game stack up? Well, over at Tom's Hardware, Kevin Parrish has a brief – and largely positive – look at the beta.

"I personally like to take my time and see the sights, and there's plenty of that here," Parrish writes. "It's not an open world by any means, but as with the prior two Diablo installments, there's enough loot and action spread out to entice players into exploring every inch of the virtual world. Barrels, crypts, graveyards, dead bodies... there's lots of virtual real estate to pillage and plunder."

Eagerly awaiting the release of Diablo 3? Drop us a line in the comments section. And in the meantime, for more tech news, sign up for the weekly BizTech newsletter, which ships every Wednesday.

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