Just days after Blizzard Entertainment announced a controversial decision that message board users would need to list their real names to continue participating in the boards, the studio has backed off. Blizzard CEO and co-founder Mike Morhaime revealed why Real ID integration is no longer happening to fans in a statement posted directly to the message boards this morning.
"We've been constantly monitoring the feedback you've given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums," said Morhaime, before revealing a reversal on the hotly debated proposed policy change. "As a result of those discussions, we've decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums."
Morhaime reiterated Blizzard's commitment to improving the forum experience for discussing Blizzard's games, including "the ability to rate posts up or down, post highlighting based on rating, improved search functionality, and more." You will not, however, have to reveal yourself.
This shouldn't be seen as a sign that Blizzard is abandoning Real ID, though.
"We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make Battle.net a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games," he said. "Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on Battle.net to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature."
Forcing such a rabid community to identify themselves would have been a bold social experiment and having a company like Blizzard give it a shot would have been supremely interesting. That won't be happening with StarCraft II, World of Warcraft or Diablo III. Maybe someone else will try it out.
Are you happy with Blizzard's decision?