09 July 2010

Blizzard no longer believes in privacy

Edit: Blizzard have recently announced that at this time real names will not be used in forums
  • Before Battlenet: Privacy is important. You may activly particpate in all parts of the game without releasing personally identifying details. You are required to respect other people's privacy. This is what Warcraft players are used to.
  • Current: Privacy is important, but for your real life friends that already know your name, you may link your real life details to your gaming details. With this exception, you may activly particpate in all parts of the game witout releaseing personally identifying details. You are still required to repect other people's privacy.
  • Tomorrow: Privacy is inconvenient. You may link your real life details to your gaming details. If you wish to actively participate in all parts of the game, you are required to release personally identifying information.  (The forums are a part of our game)

Blizzard used to understand that privacy was important, it no longer does. They have thought long and hard about the tie-up with Facebook. There are lots of users of Facebook that have no issues regarding privacy. If all Blizzard wanted accountablity, they would allow us to create an online persona and work from there. This is what players want.

At schools we teach about safety online through privacy. When I go to an employer I provide them my real name, not my toon's name. I maintain seperate work and private email addresses and phone numbers. I do not put on passport applications that I spend my free time decimating populations, hunting down other players and trying to kill them. I keep that information tied to my gaming persona.

In the weeks leading up to the Starcraft release, the news is about Blizzard and it's lack of privacy. Anyone who reads blogs is aware of this. Anyone who reads 'real world' news can only see the real id debate, where before this announcement all the talk was Starcraft (or occasionally Cataclysm). Blizzard could stop this in its tracks by allowing users to change their published 'real name'. If they are determined to go ahead with this bad idea, they could still calm the tone of the debate by deferring the implementation for the warcraft forums, and only go ahead on the Starcraft forums.

It is my prediction that the first users to users of 'real name' on the forums will be cyber-stalked. Even if it only from players wishing to make a point.

3 comments:

  1. As a proof of concept, I plan to make a datamining script that links real names to characters and their armory activity. It should be able to show a condensed activity report based only on a real name. Just to make a point? Yes, but an important one. You have been warned.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Glad Blizzard changed their mind and retracted this new forum idea.

    ReplyDelete

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