A Tempest in a Tankard–WoW Forums To Required Real Names (Updated)

Thanks to Colin in the comments for pointing out that Blizzard has reversed itself on Real ID for its forums. Here’s the link he provided to the announcement in the WoW forums. An excerpt from the announcement from a Blizzard staffer:

I’d like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. 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. 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.

(About an hour later) Here’s the BBC’s update on the story.

My original post is below the fold.

I am not a gamer, so I almost overlooked this tidbit from the BBC: Blizzard Entertainment, the company that makes Starcraft, World of Warcraft,, and other games, has announced that it will phase in a requirement that persons posting in forums use their real names via the Real ID service (which is completely unrelated to the Federal Real ID Act). From the story:

The firm says the move is to put an end to heated online arguments and topics started purely to cause trouble.

But users reacted angrily, citing concerns about safety and privacy.

The announcement came from a Blizzard community manager called “Vaneras.” Attempting to track down the actual announcement, I stumbled across this thread from a WoW forum. (Seems like Blizzard might have a point.)

The story goes on to quote a WoW player as expressing the fear that, if his gaming activities were known, it might affect his employment prospects. The same person expressed a concern that persons might attempt to track down and harass forum users with whom they disagree, which, unfortunately, may not be all that far-fetched.

It is certainly causing quite a buzz in the WoW forums.

The complete Blizzard Entertainment privacy policy is here; a “find-in-page” search will turn up the references to Real ID..

Full Disclosure: I don’t have anything against gaming. Some of my best sons are gamers.

I just know that I not willing to spend the time to become proficient at elaborate games, so I don’t bother with them. I have enough frustration in my life already; I do not need to invite more in.

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