Now, this does not guarantee that Blizzard will not be releasing Diablo this year. What it means is that they are not sure if it will be and therefore, do not want to include it in their current financial plans. They did say, however, that "if a title is not released this year, that they would be releasing two titles in 2012".
Separately, someone asked why no revenue from Diablo was included. The response was basically that it is still unknown on its release date.
After the initial information, Mike Morhaime spoke about Blizzard specifically. He stated that they were very excited about Diablo III and that development continues to move forward. Unfortunately, we did not get anything specific about any dates or its progress. However, more information about Diablo III and its beta will be discussed at the next conference call in May.
Mike Morhaime also answered a question about Diablo's progress and a possible release date. His response was that they were still very excited about Diablo. The reason for the mystery behind any dates is that they are waiting for initial responses from Beta before they announce any dates. Basically, if beta goes well, it would push their plans forward and if there were multiple things they want to change, it would push the date back.
On a more speculative conclusion of this, a summer beta would be logical given that it will be talked about in the next conference call. June 28th continues to be an important date for Diablo and may follow this trend with a possible Beta start date. This would put a six month Beta finishing at the end of the year in December. This late date may be why they did not include Diablo in their financial plan for this year. The success or issues with Beta may make this date very tangible for this year or the next. Again, they did not say that Diablo will not be released this year. However, an early 2012 release is now looking more realistic according to this new information.
We can all look forward, from this point, to the next conference call in May when a date for Beta should be announced giving us a more accurate guess of the release date.
Official Blizzard Quote:
I want to make sure it’s clear that what was stated on the investor conference call was this: Blizzard has not announced a release date for its next global release. IF we don’t release a major title in 2011, then for planning purposes we would expect to launch 2 titles in 2012.
This has been misreported/misinterpreted as an announced release schedule for 2011 and 2012, which it is not. While we’re pleased with the progress of Diablo III, we have not announced a release date for it or for any other upcoming Blizzard game. We’re currently contacting a number of outlets to request that they make the appropriate corrections in order to avoid any further confusion.
What Bashiok is telling us is that we shouldn't rule out a 2011 release, but we shouldn't be too excited about having the game this year either.