In their May 9th conference call, Blizzard announced that Diablo 3 beta testing is scheduled to begin sometime between July 1st and September 30th, 2011. They’ve also stated that they’re pushing very hard to get Diablo 3 released sometime later this year.
Given that beta testing is scheduled to begin within as early as two months, it’s pretty safe to assume that Diablo 3 will be released sometime in Q4 of this year. Some have suggested that its release will coincide with BlizzCon 2011, but I expect it will probably be shipping in late November.
The 3rd quarter reference in the earning’s call today was a calendar quarter, meaning that we’re aiming to launch the Diablo III beta between July 1st and September 30th. Keep in mind that it’s our current goal, and of course that can change as development continues.
However, it is possible that Blizzard could have Diablo 3 poised for release sometime in October. Internal testing began a week ago, which suggests that all game systems are in place. If Blizzard practically nailed this game on the first pass, then who knows… beta testing may start near the first of July — ending sometime in August or September. That should give the devs enough time to make their final tweaks for a late October release.
I still predict a late November release though, basing that on the typical Blizzard release schedule, along with the fact that Blizzcon 2011 can provide the ultimate buzz for D3. if the game comes out before Blizzcon, a lot of the would-be attendees will just stay home and play it. 😉