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Blizzard Backs Down From Real ID, Settles For ID

July 9th, 2010 by

Blizzard has nixed their plan to attach a user’s real name to the Real ID service. The decision came after a not entirely positive response from battle.net users. Although the abandoned feature earned a lot of attention for its role as troll deterrent, as USAtoday noted, the more significant role for real names would be to ease Facebook integration into Battle.net.

The original decision to include real names has done some lasting damage. One irked gamer started “What’s in a Name?” a blog revealing personal information about Blizzard employees (and people inside one degree of separation) that the author collected from public sources using each employee’s name. Privacy wonks will probably just shrug and say, “well duh.” However, it’s mortifying to see a gamer employing tactics you’d expect from anti-abortion harassment. In fairness, the site explicitly discourages any kind of harassment targeting Blizzard employees, though it has been noted that gamers aren’t known for their restraint under anonymity.

The underlying problem with using real names for Blizzard’s online service is that it merges disparate social networks via Google. However, now that the real names are out of the picture, the future of Blizzard’s Facebook partnership may unfold differently.

Edit: It’s important to note that this change only extends to the mandatory linkage between a user’s real name and their forum presence. A user’s real name remains “optionally” tied to their Battle.net account.

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