Diablo III’s much-maligned auction houses will close next year, Blizzard has announced.

The game's two auction houses allow players to purchase weapons, armour, and items using in-game gold or real world money.

Both will cease to exist from March 18, 2014.

Blizzard said it had become increasingly clear that despite the benefits and popularity of the auction house system, “it ultimately undermines Diablo's core game play: kill monsters to get cool loot”.

“We feel that this move along with the Loot 2.0 system being developed concurrently with Reaper of Souls will result in a much more rewarding game experience for our players,” it said.

The company has promised more details regarding the auction house closures closer to the deadline.

The auction houses are available in the game’s PC and Mac versions, but not on PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360.