Blizzard may have shrugged off coordinated community discontent in the past, but this week, we weren't talking about LAN support in Starcraft II. It was, instead, the MMO maker's decision to put everyone's real name on their forum messages.
Announced Tuesday, Blizzard's new policy would have displayed the real name of Battle.net account holders posting to the Starcraft forums and, soon, World of Warcraft would follow suit. An instant, constant, and overwhelming backlash forced Blizzard to capitulate by week's end. Swamped by waves of complaints about privacy and exposure, thousands made clear their vow to cancel their accounts rather than participate under these terms. And unlike disappointment in a game's features, or lack thereof, it was a threat with teeth.
Perhaps something must be done about the inevitable degradation and damage done by a community populated by those whose anonymity makes them impossible to be held accountable. But here Blizzard plainly picked the wrong fight. PC gamers, not to stereotype, but culturally speaking they don't usually sign whatever comes under the door without reading it. And hardcore video gamers by nature have flags up for any unilateral action by a publisher. So if the Internet is going to be made safe for polite people, maybe it should start somewhere other than video games. Yahoo! Sports' comments are unbearably ignorant. YouTube's should just be deactivated by default.
In this short-lived blowup, we may not have learned anything about what is a right, what is a privilege or what is a responsibility - such topics are almost beyond consensus and wouldn't be solved in four days anyway. What we did learn is that gaming communities do not have an impotent voice. And whether you agree, disagree or can't be bothered with what's going on, this week one told a publisher this subject was an absolute nonstarter, period. And got its way.
The week in Kotaku's original reporting:
- Top Stories
Lawsuit: Activision Created Modern Warfare "Police State"
Trial Date Set in Infinity Ward Suit
Is It That Bad Using Your Real Name On The Internet?
EA Makes Dragon Age 2 Official, BioWare Teases Reveal Tomorrow
Blizzard's Real Name Forum Policy Has Fans In An Uproar
PS3 Slim Goes White, HDD Increases To 320GB
- Kotaku Talk Radio
Lisa Foiles: I Pitched A Monkey Island Movie to Hollywood
Stick Jockey: If There's Only One Team on the Field, Is It Still a Winner?
- Reviews, Previews, Hands-On and Impressions
NCAA Football 11 Review: A Big Man On Campus
Review: New Super Mario Bros. Wii...Shampoo
Risk: Factions Review: Cats Vs. Zombies
Singularity Review: Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey
Mass Effect 2: Overlord Micro-Review: Shock To The System
Crackdown 2 Review: Shoot First, Leap Buildings Later
Not All Pirates Were As Nice As Guybrush Threepwood
A Visual Guide To The First-Person Shooter
How Computer Animation Is Changing The News Right Now
What Makes American Games "American"?
Video Game Beard Wars: The Winners
Celebrate American Independence With Some Video Games
Bad Aim Doesn't Bedevil PlayStation Move, Not This Time
My Weirdest Kinect Experience So Far
A Wii Game Without Waggle
Why Japan Likes Dragon Quest (And Other Pressing Issues)
Death In Guild Wars 2 Borrows A Page From Modern Warfare
Rockstar Re-Releasing The Greatest Grand Theft Auto Of Them All?
Ex-Age Of Empires Devs Working On Microsoft Strategy Game
Microsoft Seeks Testers For Secret 'Project S' Strategy Game [Updated]
Was Kinect-Enabled Dance Central Really One of the Best Games of E3?
StarCraft II Beta Patching, Phase Two Imminent
When Instant Death Was Only A Step Away
Microsoft Takes Third Stab At Showcasing Xbox Live Arcade
You Must Know About Trauma Team
Rapstar Trivia Game Packed With Arcane Hip-Hop Facts
The Final Word In Assassin's Creed Action Figures
What Move Games Will Japan Get Later This Year?
Kinect's Simple, Purple Box Art
The 25 Least-Loved Wii Games, Maybe
The 20 Most-Loved Wii Games
Greatest of All-Time? These Cover Stars Belong, Too
Your NBA 2K10-Illustrated Guide to the LeBronathon
The Ideal Length Of A Role Playing Game Is…
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