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Jul 10

Blizzard’s Real ID system

So there’s a huge controversy going down in computer gaming community at the moment. Blizzard has decided to introduce Real ID into its web forums. This is basically a policy to force everyone to use their real names when posting. Blizzard’s main rationale is to prevent trolling.

For a company which has had an enviable track record with releasing blockbuster games, Blizzard appears to have misstepped and the PR backlash has been considerable. The original announcement made in Blizzard’s forums has spawned over 1500 pages of replies (and counting). The news has been reported by the gaming media, as well as mainstream media.

Gamers have used aliases since forever. It’s simply a part of the culture – no one ever really plays games online with their real names. Even when a bunch of friends sit in a room and play LAN games with each other, they still use aliases in game. Stripping this anonymity is something that goes against the grain of the culture.

Concerns have also been raised about online safety – some gamers are not the most balanced of individuals, and the emotions that can crop up in a game can spill over into the real world. There are periodic accounts of gamers who felt they were wronged in a game, take their grievances into the real world and end up finding and stabbing their opponent.

Women also have concerns for their safety, and a poster on 4chan unwittingly demonstrated the point.

I wonder if Blizzard will reconsider? I mean, all this just to prevent trolling?

  7:50pm  •  Computing  •   •  Tweet This  •  Comments (2)

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1.  World Wide News Flash

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2.  Hear Ye! » Starcraft 2 review

[…] they’ve made a major misstep. Actually, multiple missteps. Following hot on the heels of the Real ID debacle (from which they sheepishly backed down), the net is steadily filling with complaints about […]

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