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Why Diablo 3 Isn‘t on Steam

Blizzard Keeps Games Exclusive to Battle.net

Simply put, Diablo 3 is not on Steam because Blizzard wants to keep it exclusive to their Battle.net platform. They have chosen to not release any of their games on Steam in order to have full control over the player experience, features, and monetization.

As a fellow tech geek and avid PC gamer, I totally understand the desire to have all your games consolidated in one place like Steam. But Blizzard has deliberately avoided Steam for all their major releases including Diablo, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Hearthstone.

The History Behind Battle.net Exclusivity

Ever since the launch of the original Diablo game back in 1996, Blizzard has maintained control through Battle.net rather than using third-party services. When Diablo 2 released in 2000, digital distribution platforms like Steam didn‘t even exist yet.

Blizzard was an early pioneer in recognizing the importance of owning the direct relationship with players. This allowed them to test out online features like multiplayer support and digital sales years before Steam was on the scene.

When Steam began growing in popularity in the mid-2000s, Blizzard chose not to join in. They already had an established community and sales platform with Battle.net, so Steam likely didn‘t offer compelling enough benefits.

Blizzard‘s Motivations for Avoiding Steam

Based on their 20+ year history of skipping Steam, Blizzard seems to have a few key motivations:

  • Retaining control over the user experience – Blizzard can add any features they want rather than being limited by Steam‘s policies. For example, support for clans/communities is fully controlled by Blizzard.
  • Facilitating in-game transactions – Games like Hearthstone have in-game purchases for new card packs. Battle.net integration allows for smoother transactions.
  • Better anti-cheat capabilities – Blizzard‘s Warden anti-cheat has deeper access when games are running on Battle.net rather than Steam. This results in fewer hackers.
  • Player data & analytics – Blizzard likely gains more player insights by controlling the whole experience end-to-end. Valuable data might be lost integrating with Steam.
  • Branding – Keeping games on Battle.net strengthens their brand name recognition compared to being one of many on Steam.

The Financial Incentives Behind Exclusivity

There are also strong financial motivations for Blizzard to maintain exclusivity:

  • Steam takes 30% of revenue from game sales. Blizzard keeps more of each sale by selling direct.
  • Battle.net allows them to cross-sell other Blizzard games to players.
  • In-game transactions for items like Hearthstone card packs are more profitable without Steam‘s 30% cut.
  • Owning the platform means Blizzard can set pricing and discounts rather than conforming to Steam sales.

How to Play Diablo 3 on PC Without Steam

Don‘t worry, even though Diablo 3 isn‘t on Steam, you can still easily download, install, and play it on your Windows gaming PC:

  1. Go to the Blizzard website and download the Battle.net desktop app for Windows. This is their equivalent to Steam for managing Blizzard games.
  2. Once installed, open the Battle.net app and log into your Blizzard account, or create a new free account if you don‘t have one.
  3. Click the Diablo 3 icon in the Battle.net app and it will begin installing the game files to your PC.
  4. The download is around 30GB. On a fast connection it should take 15-30 minutes. Slower connections may take a few hours.
  5. Once installed, simply launch Diablo 3 through the Battle.net app and enjoy demon slaying! All your characters, progress, and purchases will be saved to your Blizzard account.

Diablo 3 System Requirements

Here are the official minimum and recommended system requirements for smoothly running Diablo 3:

Minimum

  • Windows 7/8/10 64-bit
  • Intel Core i3 or AMD FX-4000 CPU
  • 4 GB RAM
  • NVIDIA GTX 260/AMD Radeon HD 4870 GPU
  • 30 GB storage space

Recommended

  • Windows 10 64-bit
  • Intel Core i5/AMD Ryzen 5 CPU
  • 8 GB RAM
  • NVIDIA GTX 1060/AMD RX 5500 GPU
  • 30 GB storage space

As long as your PC meets these specs, you‘ll be slaying demons at 60 FPS in no time! Many modern gaming rigs will exceed the recommended requirements.

How to Play Diablo 3 on Steam Deck

I know the Steam Deck is all the rage right now among us gaming techies. Even though Diablo 3 isn‘t available on Steam, thankfully you can still play it on the Steam Deck thanks to a handy workaround.

Here are the steps to install and run Diablo 3 on the Steam Deck:

  1. Boot into Desktop mode on your Steam Deck and open the web browser.
  2. Go to the Blizzard website and download the Battle.net desktop app installer.
  3. Install Battle.net and log into your Blizzard account with your credentials.
  4. Search for Diablo 3 in the Battle.net app and install it on your Steam Deck.
  5. Launch Steam on your Deck and click "Add a Non-Steam Game" in the lower left.
  6. Browse to the Battle.net app executable and add it. This will create a shortcut in your Steam library.
  7. Launch Battle.net through the Steam shortcut, then run Diablo 3.

By adding Battle.net as a "Non-Steam Game", you can access your entire Blizzard game library on the Steam Deck. Just be sure to swap to the on-screen keyboard anytime you need to enter text.

I‘d also recommend browsing the Steam Community control schemes to find a good button mapping preset for Diablo 3. The trackpads take some adjustment compared to mouse and keyboard, but are great once you get the hang of them.

The Likelihood of Diablo 3 Coming to Steam

I know it‘s disappointing Diablo 3 remains a Battle.net exclusive. Is there any chance of it coming to Steam in the future?

Based on Blizzard‘s 20+ year history of avoiding Steam, I highly doubt Diablo 3 or any of their current games will ever release on Steam.

The only exception was Destiny 2, which was available on Battle.net but migrated to Steam after Bungie split from Activision-Blizzard. This was a unique case, and all Blizzard-developed games are almost guaranteed to stay exclusive to Battle.net.

It makes good business sense for Blizzard to retain control over their games rather than sharing 30% of revenue with Steam. As much as I‘d love the convenience of having Diablo 3 in my Steam library, Blizzard has shown no signs of changing their exclusivity approach anytime soon.

The Bottom Line – Don‘t Wait for a Steam Release

I know we gamers are creatures of habit and many of us have our entire game collections on Steam. But for iconic Blizzard series like Diablo and World of Warcraft, we‘ll have to embrace Battle.net.

The good news is Battle.net is totally free and easy to use. Once you download the desktop app, it‘s functionally similar to Steam for installing, updating, and launching games.

So for any of you Diablo fans who have been holding out hope for a surprise Steam launch, I say go ahead and dive into Battle.net. Enjoy slashing through demons with me, and I‘ll see you in Sanctuary!