Monday, June 28, 2010

Interview Reveals that RealID is a Scam

Can't believe it took me nearly 2 months for me to come across this interview. In USA Today!

Holy crap.  Blizzard's plans for Real ID are beyond what I even imagined.

So back at Blizzcon, Blizz announced that they were going to be using to add cross game/faction/server communication.  This sounded great.  It would let me ask a friend logged into WoW if they wanted to come play some Starcraft . . . in the form of a whisper to their character!  Yay!

Oh wait.  Now it turns out that they weren't adding cross game/server chat as a benefit to the players.  It's simply bait to create their own social network to get a piece of the Facebook revenue pie.

Hundreds of pages have been posted on the WoW official forums asking for the ability to use Real ID's desirable functionality with aliases (like Xbox gamertag or Steam username) and without giving out email addresses.  These threads have been ignored in a way unprecedented by Blizzard's response to any previous issue.  Never have they been this silent.  Never.

This USA Today interview reveals why.


"Go back to the previous, Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and Steam and other different networks in the context of gaming services. they are all kind of anonymous. That whole veil of anonymity has been an important part of the design. There are those who feel like I want to go escape and create this parallel identity to myself on a gaming network and I don't want anyone to know who I am in real life. What we have seen in recent years is that veil of anonymity has been cast aside largely. Culturally, I think we have become more and more accepting of social networking in the context of your real identity and Facebook, of course as the leader in the space, has led this charge. We're now at something five years ago I don't think any of us would maybe necessarily be comfortable with. We all now have our own Facebook pages and we have got a lot of our information on there. We've got our real names and pictures of ourselves on there and so forth."

I love that veil of anonymity.  I don't understand where they get this idea that we are all now accepting of casting aside our anonymity on the internet.  Did they get that idea from all the recent Facebook privacy lawsuits and uproar?  Or all the reports about people losing their jobs because their employer checked Facebook?  Do I want my boss to know I play WoW at all?  NO.  It would, in fact, greatly hurt my career.  Which means I can NEVER use Real ID, because I can't have my real name associated with WoW in any way.

And you know what one of the cool things about having "a lot of information on [Facebook]"?  It's that (until recently) we could make that information as private as we wanted.  They seemed to have missed that aspect of it.

Here's the most hilarious quote:

Do you expect any push back from diehard Blizzard fans from the Facebook features?  We don't anticipate any.

And here's the most terrifying quote:

Here at Blizzard we have seen the social networks as an inspiration to us to really think about what the next stage of the online gaming space will look like. What if we gave people the option to display themselves by their real name and create a social network of real-life friends connecting that Blizzard community based on their real names? So what we are doing is we are introducing this feature called Real ID, an optional layer of identity on top of the standard character level of identity you would have on any game service.

It turns out the entire point is to NOT have a gamertag-like alias.  The entire point of the service is to use this real name "layer of identity" different from what's used on other gaming services.  Y'know, services that have been wildly successful and acclaimed as opposed to your widely panned system - but hey, those other guys aren't making Facebook money, now are they?

I think it's quite telling that Blizzard won't just come out and say this in response to the forum posts asking for aliases.  Talk about selling your playerbase out.

"Step one in our relationship is to have this Friends Importation,"

This is just step one in their relationship with Facebook.  Oy.  I wonder how deep down the Facebook rabbithole this goes?  How closely have they been working with them?

"We are actually fully integrating with the Facebook team."


OK, that kind of shit just plain does not happen between two companies of this size unless a deal is in place.  Consider a contract with Facebook, of some type, confirmed.

And I don't even own tin foil, let alone a hat made of it.  Sorry, haters.


Stabs said...

While I don't trust this one inch it is, in its current form, completely skippable isn't it?

As I understand it you will still be able to add Hatch or Stabs to friend as per the current WoW functionality, you just won't get the extra ability to see alts and characters in other Blizzard games.

I'm not saying it's not a slippery slope.

I'm also thinking about a false ID. It's no crime to lie, if I tell them my name is D. Duck and make a new account, email address, and facebook ID that should be OK. Different name on the credit card of course but there are many people using family members credit cards which don't have their own name.

Ixobelle said...

And then at the bottom of the article:

Miley Cyrus: Too much Web time is 'not cool'

Miley Cyrus isn't missing Twitter. After being very active on it, the singer/actress quit the social-networking site in October.

Now, she tells Movieline, she sees the benefits of not being tied to tweeting. "I'm a lot less on my phone, I'm a little bit more social. I have a lot more real friends as opposed to friends who are on the internet who I'm talking to - which is like not cool, not safe, not fun and most likely not real. I think everything is just better when you're not so wrapped up in [the Internet]."


Hatch said...

@Stabs: there's nothing wrong with the Real ID system per se. I'd be perfectly happy if it remained, *provided* that I was allowed to use the cross game/faction/server chat/friends list functionality without revealing my real name or email address. I'm less mad about Real ID and more mad that I can't use this cool new feature because it has a crippling security vulnerability. Also, using a fake name on your account is against Blizzard's Terms of Service and also - if I understand correctly - prevents you from paying by credit card.

@Ixo: Do not under any circumstances reveal that I am actually Miley Cyrus!

Scotty said...

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Rowan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rowan said...

Hatch, would it be too much to ask what industry you work in that you are worried that your gaming would affect your career? I have been trying to figure this scenario out, as my job with a military contractor is not affected by the common knowledge that I play WoW. Several of my coworkers--past and present--play, as well.