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Diablo III public beta due this autumn

Blizzard "doing its best" to ensure game release before end of year

After months of speculation Blizzard Entertainment has announced that the external beta for Diablo III will begin in the third quarter of 2011.

Although the game still has no specific release date CEO Mike Morhaime has indicated that the developer is doing its best to ensure the game is released this year.

"We began internal company-wide testing last week," said Morhaime in a recent investor call. 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 and launch Diablo III this year but I want to be clear that we do not have an official release date or window yet. As always we will not compromise the quality of the game in order to hit a window," he added.

Previously Blizzard had cast doubt on the chances of a 2011 release date, although the company has never ruled out the possibility. "In the long run Blizzard is good for one major release a year... but the quality of the game had to be there", said Activision CFO Thomas Tippl in February.

There has also been confusion on the possibility of a console release of the game, with Blizzard previously hinting that a spin-off of some sort could be under consideration.

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