The first gameplay footage of Diablo III on the PS3 has surfaced, as well as screenshots of the PS4 version. Blizzard has confirmed that the game will come to both consoles as part of a partnership with Sony. The console versions will feature four player split-screen multiplayer and all the updates Blizzard has released for the PC version of the game through Patch 1.07. The company has also confirmed that it'll keep D3 up to date on both platforms as it evolves the game further.
There's some interesting potential here. Diablo III was a DirectX 9 title, and the PS3 version of the game will likely keep that feature set. The PS4, on the other hand, could adopt a more advanced engine with DirectX 11-class features. We saw "class" because there's no evidence that Sony will license the DX API from Microsoft for the PS4, and porting the game from the PS4's API to the PC would still likely take work.
The gameplay video from the PC looks roughly equivalent to what the PC version produces, and while there will likely be some compromises, the game should be equivalent to midrange hardware settings in the PC version. The more interesting tidbit -- and something I missed when Blizzard announced it a month ago -- is that the console version of the game won't require an always-on connection.
Honestly? That's angering. It's frustrating because it illustrates how false the claims that games like D3 and SimCity need to always be online actually <em>are</em>, but not in a way that benefits PC gamers. I was unable to play Diablo III for 10-12 days after it debuted, and the company's refusal to accept the need to change this policy did far more damage to my long-term enjoyment of the game than any supposed benefit of the always-on service.
The question isn't whether multiplayer and online options like Hardcore Mode add value to Diablo III -- they definitely do. The issue is whether people should be able to play the game even when they've got a spotty Internet connection or no Internet access at all. Hopefully this is one feature from the console side that Blizzard brings back to the PC version, but I'm not going to hold my breath about it.