In Activision's first quarter investor call, Mike Morhaime, the president and a co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, revealed that the developer is beginning company-wide testing on "Diablo 3" and is planning an external beta for the game for the third quarter of 2011. In layman's terms, you may be playing "Diablo 3" on your home computer as soon as July.
Morhaime gave an enthusiastic update on the progress of development for "Diablo 3," but was unwilling to confirm a specific release timeframe.
"On the 'Diablo 3' front, I'm pleased to report that we began internal, company-wide testing last week. The game is looking great and we are currently targeting a Q3 launch for external beta testing. The development team is working hard to try to launch 'Diablo 3' this year, but I want to be clear. We do not have an official release date or window yet."
Details on the external beta are currently extremely limited, so we don't know the scope of how many testers will be involved or what the beta will include. It's hard to imagine that anything could match the gargantuan beta for "StarCraft 2," but Blizzard has said that "Diablo 3" will have plenty of online functionality, and that sort of functionality needs plenty of testers to succeed.
In addition to the "Diablo 3" news, Morhaime briefly mentioned the first "StarCraft 2" expansion, "Heart of the Swarm," saying that Blizzard "will be showcasing that game to press later this month." Expect details on the expansion to start revealing themselves in the days leading up to this year's E3 in June.