D3 is dead. Makes no money. They're going mobile to make money. They don't care about the old player base because we've been playing for free for years. All they care about is money, obviously. They want a consistent revenue stream because you don't need a monthly sub for D3. No doubt in my mind that they will add currency like all mobile games that you can buy with $. They'll probably add cosmetic items as well. If they are successful in that then I don't expect them to put any focus in D3 for PC. Why would they put in tons of man hours for something that doesn't make money?
It's 2018 and all of the best games are free right now but they all sell cosmetic items. They all make tons of money. Paladins has like 30 million players? They are on every console now. I think they blew Overwatch out of the water. Fortnite has been dominating the video game realm. PoE, LoL, DoTa, Quake Champions, etc. All of these games are free to play and has millions of players playing them. Blizzard has fallen way behind since 2014 or so. I'm sure everyone has noticed it. They seem desperate. Going mobile was desperate. Making Destiny 2 free this month was another desperate move. It's crazy to think that Blizzard could go out of business but they can't even keep up with all of the free games I mentioned. Just look at the development. D3 hasn't had new skins in how many years? 5? WoW is on the same boat. They just recolor old skins every expansion. Look at all these other games. All the time spent in creating beautiful models and skins while everyone says the same thing about Blizz devs... they're either lazy or just don't care anymore.
I disagree with you about going mobile being an act of desperation. The mobile market is vast and there's a lot of money to be made there. It'd be silly not to augment your existing development with mobile titles. And to be fair, giving away Destiny 2 wasn't that big of a deal. It's a $10 game with the intent of getting people to like it and buy the expansion. And it's only if you sign up during a fairly small window. It's kinda like the trial versions for some of the Blizzard games, like being able to play WoW up to level 20 or D3 up to skeleton king.
I agree with you about revenue streams. D3 was supposed to have a continued revenue stream from the RMAH, but that went out the window and left D3 in a tough spot for continued revenue. As a result we got a small trickle of content (seasons) that is meant to keep people relatively interested until they can put out stuff like Necromancer or at best another expansion.
Looking back at this a week later, I have a couple thoughts:
1) The mobile market is hard to ignore, so I can understand a mobile game. I think they should have had something to offer to the audience present, and that was a foolish PR move on their part. The "will this be ported to PC/Console" question could have been answered better with "we're not planning on it, but maybe we'll consider it based on feedback."
2) This will be *something* to fill the gap while other stuff is being developed and I can play it while not at home, so I wouldn't say I'm excited about it, but I may get it anyways cause it's still Diablo.
3) Bringing a Blizzard-Quality game to Mobile could be a pretty awesome thing. The initial reviews sounded positive about the way it plays, even though it's a mobile game. I don't really like mobile games, but if this is a cut above the rest, that may be good both for this game and other mobile games along the way.
4) Part of me hopes there's some skunkworks going on. As one of the fans pointed out in the initial Q&A, there seem to be features I'd like to see in a PC/Console Diablo title. Bosses with mechanics, interacting with the environment...stuff that was initially teased for Diablo 3. If they do it for Immortal, I hope they do it in D4 and even improve upon it.
5) I don't blame anyone for being angry. I'm still not really happy about it. I'm trying to find the positives with it, but man, I really get why people are mad. And reiterating on point 1, I can't believe they didn't announce *SOMETHING* that would've been properly directed at the assembled audience. The initial responses made it worse. People deserve to be mad about this one. I just hope it ends well.
Edit: 6) I also wonder if they dropped some fairly covert hints relating indirectly to D3. All of the classes in Immortal are D3 classes. They mentioned adding their favorite classes: Assassin, Witch Doctor and Druid. WD is obviously also a D3 class. There have been subtle hints about Druid being added to D3 in the future...could Assassin also be on its way to D3?