Aus/NZ Beta Key Contest Gives Release Date Hints

Thanks to Ratamahatta for the tip that Blizzard is running a contest to award 100 beta keys to their long-neglected, realm-less fans in Australia and New Zealand. Entry is only open to residents of those two countries, (except for Queensland or Victoria), and to enter you must send an email to [email protected] In that email, in 25 words or less, tell them “What will you be doing the week before Diablo III is launched.” Entries must be received between December 12th and December 31st, and they are going to announce the winners in three batches. Pay attention to these dates, as they’re of interest to even people who can not enter the contest.

Winners shall be determined as follows: (a) On December 17, 2011, Sponsor shall select the qualified entrants who have submitted the best thirty three (33) submissions as of that date as winners of the Contest; (b) on December 24, 2011, Sponsor shall select the qualified entrants who have submitted the best thirty three (33) submissions not already selected as winners of the contest to be winners of the Contest; and (iii) on December 31, 2011, Sponsor shall select the qualified entrants who have submitted the best thirty four (34) submissions not already selected as winners of the contest to be winners of the Contest.

Winners shall be selected by Sponsor at its sole discretion based upon which entrants display the most creative, interesting, witty, original and/or humorous description of how they intend to spend the week before Diablo III launches. The decision of Sponsor is final.

This seems to put a stake through the January 17th release date rumors a surprising number of people gave credence to. After all, Blizzard generally closes their beta tests a few weeks before a game release, and if they were thinking about ending the beta in late December or early January, they obviously wouldn’t be giving out beta key prizes on January 1st.

The rules also note that winners will be notified within 21 days after the contest drawing, and that prizes not claimed within 15 days will be forfeit. I don’t know the legalities of giving prizes into a beta, and I’m sure they won’t take 21 days to notify winners, but I’d assume that the beta has to run (at the very least) until the prize forfeit deadline of January 15th. If you take that date as the earliest possible end of the beta test, and assume 3-4 weeks from the end of the beta until release… well, you can do the math on that one.

Remember that old, off-the-cuff Jay Wilson remark about the beta starting about six months before the release date? An estimate we thought was much too generous, when Blizzard was talking about a 2011 release date back in early September when the beta was getting started? Six months from early September is… early March, 2012. Was Jay more accurate than anyone suspected?

Tagged As: | Categories: Contests, Release Date


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  1. Splendidly clever, Sherflux! I daresay we’ve enough to go to Scotland Yard 😀
    But yeah, it plays out well…I guess if it gives me more time to play Skyrim…unless I take a beta to the knee.

    • in TES 4 Oblivion i had big fun until like 30 h game time and then it suddently became very boring. do u know what i mean? is it the same for skyrim?
      i guess you should only give me advise on this if you too got borend after a certain time in oblivion. ty ^.^

      • The environment is more varied than in Oblivion (less copy&paste dungeons), but you will get bored eventually just the same, the basic concept has not changed. You will always see the same enemies depending on your levels, combat is repetitive and “realistic” (aka awkward) and while the immersion more than makes up for it, that begins to fade after some time.
        If you wouldn’t buy Oblivion again if you could go back in time, then don’t buy Skyrim. If you enjoyed Oblivion long enough to make it worth the investment in your eyes, get it.

  2. heating up the cauldron even more? dunno if thats a good idea ^^

  3. Very interesting!
    When i was looking to pre-order my Collectors Edition here in Sweden I stumbled across something interesting that cross-checks with this disturbingly well. I checked a site that’s very similar to, which compares the prices of a single product across different sites. The interesting part is that several of these sites, 4 out of 22 to be exact, put 13 of March 2012 as the day they will have it in stock. Coincidence? Doubt it. A date that Blizz has given them saying “we’re aiming at this now”? Who knows!

  4. I think it’s a joke from blizzard.
    The ppl who win will be playing the beta in the week before release imho.

  5. Jup, a least the last batch of people (Dec 31, 2011) will have a very short beta time methinks.

  6. That’s perfect-sounding logic Mr Flux.
    Just in time to go hibernating until Spring!
    Now, just need Torchlight 2 to keep me going.. unless I decide to splurge out on Skyrim.
    Question to the masses then, which is better:
    – Skyrim for PC?
    – Skyrim for PS3?

  7. Fingers crossed for a first round win so I can play while waiting for that new lightsaber game to show up in the mail 😀

  8. I say that the whole 21/15 day thing this is just standard legal clauses, obfuscating tactics with respect to the release date, and that the game comes in mid-January to meet the end of the free 30 days trial period of BioWare’s SWTOR. The contest question is rather humorous, though. ^^

  9. i think the funny part is the contest is about playing the Beta. and the question is what youll be doing the week before release, like if they are hinting that the beta will be still running until the release.

  10. Wow, a whole 100 beta keys. I’m shaking with anticipation.  🙄

    • Hey, thats a hundred keys to Aus/NZ thats like what half the gaming population or something…

      *Runs and hides with Azzure*

      O wait…

      *Runs and hides somewhere else*

  11. No one wants to be more wrong here than me. anyone who thought the game which was supposed to come out in late 2011 (i think we were all assuming by the holiday for sales and stuff) and then is “delayed” until early 2012 and somehow thought that meant a lousy 4-8 weeks is crazy.   4 weeks is nothing especially when its over the holiday period.  if that is all it was, blizz would of still announced a release date.  if it was supposed to be say, today, they would of still said hey we cant make 12/13 but we got you on 1/17 or whatever.  again, i desire to eat a truckload of crow on this, but we all will be heading into spring before we play D3.  the australian/NZ beta cements that even more.

  12. I feel like they procrastinate more since they stopped anouncing release dates :/ some pressure like a release date can work wonders …

  13. i dont get it. they cant give us anymore? we have now seen 2 cinematics and are without a release date.

    also, why do they get to write in for a chance? i would actually rather write an entry than wait for stupid dumb luck…

  14. This seems to be more a political issue at the moment. IF they would launch before they get the official OK regarding the Korean RMAH, the Korean gov would be slightly p*ssed for sure: “Hey, look, Blizzard does what they want anyway!”. So, all they can do now is just wait if they don’t want to offend a very important business partner.

    • Actually…

      Scroll down to the part about the Auction House…

      “There have been many questions about the currency auction house. An auction system like this is in some ways an unprecedented new effort, and there are different regulations and laws in other regions, which we are working on. After an internal investigation, we concluded that the auction house system is legitimate in Korea. However, we respect and are taking the classification system for each region very seriously. Blizzard has been working closely with the national regulation groups, and we are cooperating fully with the Korea rating committee. We are getting closer to release more information, and we will let you know the status soon.”

      So yeah… the RMAH is legal in Korea, there are still other hold ups… 😕

      • No, Blizzard are saying they feel that their RMAH is legal in Korea. The GRB will be making the official call on that in the coming weeks.

  15. again, a must-have release in all countries at the same time is not really nessessary… I asume

  16. “and assume 3-4 weeks from the end of the beta until release”

    Why would you assume that? Blizzard ends its betas days before release not weeks and months…

    • like that alot :D, feels like being a child waiting for santa to come and the christkind has already been at home bringing the presents and you’re like watching your inner clock, not being able to stand the time that still has to pass until gift giving has finally arrived! 😀

    • @”Diablo 3 is really coming together…”
      -> We are close to release.
      @”making lots of great changes/polish to the game”
      – We are adding the final bits, and they devs have finally the rune system which the first installment of the game will ship with.

  17. I’m sorry but everyone who still believe that this game can come on January 2012 is sick.I doubt we will even get a release date until the end of January.That is only an opinion,nothing more!

  18. Some facts that aren’t related to this topic:
    Blizz tends to:
    1. open the beta,
    2. show the intro cinematic,
    3. announce the game,
    4. close the beta,
    5. release the game
    We’re only @ 2 right now 🙁
    Even if everything takes place really really fast, i’d say that 17th January thing is a bit.. hard to imagine.

    • The good thing is, that points 4 and 5 aren’t really that significant as the beta will close a few days before actual release (at least this is how it was done in previous Blizzard games cases) and the actual release isn´t a “waiting point”. So now I think we are only waiting for the release date and then…everything is okay 🙂

    • Step 3 to 5 will be all very close together due to the unforeseen delay with the Korean RMAH.

  19. According to Blizzard, no I CAN’T do the math.

  20. Don’t forget that Blizzard is planning to open up beta tests in Korea, which haven’t even been announced yet. 🙁

  21. Besides the RMAH I don’t see the hold up really. The rune system could easily go in and be patched. At this point it feels like they are dragging their feet.  The beta feels pretty polished and updates have slowed down on it. The things they are changing are pretty small and are patchable. I feel they really lost out by no launching this December. However, since they did delay past 2011, I don’t feel that January is viable.  Feb seems the soonest it could come out but my bet is still on March. On my 3rd play through of skyrim and going to need something new to play here soon 🙂

  22. I hope that the winning answers are somewhere around the lines of, “I’ll be winning this contest and playing the beta for a week”, but then again Blizzard doesn’t seem to play games with release dates. BTW, they did a mass beta release for SCII 2 weeks before the release and then the beta servers went down 1 week before release. The end of Jan could still be possible but I doubt it’s going to happen. I actually have the beta and I will be letting friends use it because there is such little content. There is maybe 20 hours worth of gameplay before it feels old.

  23. An internal target of early March makes sense.
    Whether or not legal and logistic issues related to the RMAH push that out to June is the question.

  24. I think nobbie is gonna have a seizure if diablo comes out after january 2012 lulz (it’s coming after march).

  25. I got access to Starcraft2  beta 5 days before it ended. And the game came out 1-2 weeks later. So this contest shouldn’t have any importance while speculating dates. Besides, Australia always gets “shafted” when it comes to videogames (no offense mates). If Blizzard was really worried in giving Australian players time to test the game, they would have given them beta keys 3 months ago.

    I doubt the game will be out in mid-January. If I had to bet I’d say early February. March and April already sounds like overreacting.

  26. they ask people what they will be doing 1 week before the launch, when in fact nobody knows when launch will be. silly question or worded horribly, nobody will know exactly what their doing 1 week before launch if they dont announce a date before that contest is over.. makes no sense.

  27. I will invite all my friends to play with me, stack food up the shelves, re-reread the book of Cain, learn the name of all the angels of High Heaven…… oh wait, I’m not an Aussie… NVM!

  28. The game will be released Feb. 30, 2011.  Mark your calendars.

  29. Without a release date, it is impossible for me to know what I’ll be doing the week before launch. My answer therefore ranges from:

    Playing Skyrim
    Playing TOR
    Playing Torchlight 2
    Playing Borderlands 2
    Playing Guild Wars 2
    Playing GTA 5

    I won’t be playing WoW or SC2, so hurry up and release this game…

    I wonder if an honest answer like this will win a beta key in the competition.

  30. Feb 1st 2012 (AU 1/2/12 or US 2/1/12)
    Still gives them ~3 weeks to crunch, plus 2 weeks for a release day patch to squash any gremlins that come out of the woodwork.
    It’s online only remember, that gives them extra time to prepare after the game goes gold.

  31. This company has turned into a big joke not only on them but on their customers also. If u know a game won’t be done..why hype it so much and give premature release dates? that just shows immaturity and disrespect towards the customers that made the company what it is.
    Pathetic… they are just pathetic to the essence of their bones.

    • lol, premature release dates? they’ve never given a hard release date, which shows your ignorance. the closest they’ve come to giving a release date is when their product schedule leaked, and it was estimated to be Q4 2011. and so what if it gets pushed back? that happens ALL THE TIME. they never gave it a date, and they haven’t hyped the game any more than any other developer with an upcoming release. i’m disappointed the game isn’t out yet, but there’s no reason to call blizzard immature and pathetic. your post is hyperbole at its worst.

  32. I heard that diablo3 will release winter 2012 =)).. You buy WoW one year and get diablo3 for free, thats means that diablo3 release about 1 year left 😀

  33. A January release date is not realistic at all. First, a game needs to be gold for about 3 weeks to a month to accommodate production. That means hitting a January release window will require the game to be gold NOW. And since the game is still under heavy tweaking, and not to mention Blizzard’s own uncertainty of which Boss buff works and which doesn’t, among other features which are still in the experimentation process…I’d say the game is far from Gold.
    As of now, the first quarter 2012 release window, which is up until March, seems realistic but becoming more unlikely. A second quarter release seems more likely. Any of you guys remember Starcraft II? Even after Blizzard announced the released date, it still took a few months to release. Do we really expect Diablo 3 to release in a month without having confirmation from Blizzard themselves?

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