Blizzard's Naming Policy Is Smaller MMO Publisher's Marketing Opportunity

Who benefits from Blizzard's controversial decision to use players' real names in forum posts? War Rock publisher GamersFirst hopes it will, issuing an official press release to let gamers know it's all still anonymous there.

Blizzard's decision to modify its forums in the near future so that players' real names are displayed instead of their character names has caused quite a stir. While others debate the pros and cons of using your real name on the internet, others smell opportunity.

Public relations folks always smell opportunity.

GamersFirst is a publisher of quick and dirty online games, many of which you might never have heard of on Kotaku if not for today's press release. You might have heard of War Rock, but Knight Online World? Sword 2? Our World? Never heard of them, until now.

So I guess the company's strategy of calling out Blizzard for its real name maneuver, effectively calling it "an unwarranted intrusion to player privacy."

"In a simulated world, the line between real life and fantasy is easily blurred. For many, that's clearly part of the attraction of MMO's and virtual worlds," says Tracy Spaight, published author regarding virtual worlds and executive director of publishing for GamersFirst. "Race, gender, age and other markers of identity are rendered invisible behind the veil of the Internet and the anonymity it confers. While anonymity cuts both ways, we think that player freedom is important. At GamersFirst, we trust our players to use their freedom – to speak their mind, to sound off on game changes, and yes, to rant and blow off steam. It is an unwarranted intrusion to player privacy to force our players to disclose their real world identity."

Way to go, PR team! At the beginning of the press release, GamersFirst is referred to as "today's most popular Free2Play MMO publisher." Thanks to the release, that could actually be true, at least for today.