Blizzard will remove the gold and real-money auction houses from Diablo 3 because the feature undermined the title's core gameplay mechanics of destroying enemies for gear and rewards, according to a post from the game's production director John Hight on Battle.net.
Hight noted that the developers feel that taking the auction houses offline, as well as the move to the new Loot 2.0 system, will help create a "much more rewarding game experience."
"When we initially designed and implemented the auction houses, the driving goal was to provide a convenient and secure system for trades," reads the post. "But as we've mentioned on different occasions, it became increasingly clear that despite the benefits of the [auction house] system and the fact that many players around the world use it, it ultimately undermines Diablo's core game play: kill monsters to get cool loot."
The auction house will be shut down on March 18, 2014. More information on the change will be shared in the coming months.
"We're working out the details of how the auction house system will be shut down, but we wanted to share the news as soon as we made the decision in order to give everyone as much advance notice as possible," Hight wrote.