Game developer Blizzard has backed down on a plan to require users of its official online forums to register with real names, just days after announcing the move.
The shift, announced Friday in a message posted to the company's forums, followed a firestorm of criticism from users expressing privacy concerns.
"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," Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, wrote in the Friday post. "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 stressed that the real-name requirement was not to be confused with the optional in-game Real ID system that's now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. That system is a voluntary, optional level of identity designed to keep players connected even outside of games with features such as cross-game and cross-realm chat and real names on friends lists.
Forum users met Morhaime's announcement with hundreds of pages of messages, many of them thanking Blizzard ("Fantastic. Thanks for restoring my faith in you guys," read one post typical of the mood on the boards. Read another: "The little guy wins!").
Some, however, tempered their relief with caution. "Although I certainly am grateful for the announcement, I...am concerned about the use of 'At This Time,'" wrote another poster. "This is definitely code for "At some point, we may consider trying again." … Read more