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Diablo Immortal Chinese release delayed just days before launch

Blame falls on sudden need to "optimise" game.

Diablo Immortal has had its high-profile Chinese release pulled, just four days before it was due to become available.

Blizzard's free-to-play dungeon crawler was set to launch in China on 23rd June. Yesterday, that no longer became the case, as local publisher NetEase claimed in a brief statetement that it now needed to "optimise" the game's experience.

The last-minute delay has raised eyebrows, especially in the wake of headlines surrouding Diablo Immortal's monetisation practices.

Blizzard's Diablo Immortal.Watch on YouTube

More curious, the delay follows a ban for Diablo Immortal's official Weibo account - China's major social network site. The account was flagged for the "violation of related laws and regulations" and was blocked from posting further, according to the South China Morning Post (as spotted by industry analyst Daniel Ahmad).

Eurogamer has contacted both NetEase and Activision Blizzard for more.

"The development team is making a number of optimization adjustments to the game: support for a wider range of models and devices, the highest quality rendering on more models, a lot of experience, network and performance optimizations, and more," NetEase wrote. "We believe that the game experience in the official online version will become smoother and bring better game content to everyone."

Diablo Immortal was set to be a key launch title for Activision Blizzard in China, and had been cleared to lauch - despite its focus on demons and other underworld inhabitants, a sticking point for many other similar releases with the country's cultural censors.

For its part, NetEase says it still expects the game to launch at some point. The publisher has promised players a "thank you package" of equipment and materials will be made available whenever Diablo Immortal does eventually arrive.

Since its launch in the west two weeks ago, Diablo Immortal has earned almost £20m and been downloaded over 8m times.

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