After announcing plans requiring users in official forums to go by their real names via Real ID earlier this week, Blizzard has responded to negative feedback by scrapping the new initiative. Some companies pay lip service to their customers by publicizing claims that they listen, but this is one case where customer feedback seems to have stopped official decisions dead in their tracks.
"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," Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said in a statement posted to the official Blizzard 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."
That doesn't mean that Blizzard has given up on Real ID altogether, however. To the contrary, they still have plenty of other uses for the system.
"We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make Battle.net a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games," Morhaime explained. "And of course, you'll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on Battle.net to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature."
Blizzard PR manager Bob Colayco further clarified the company's outlook in a statement sent to MTV News.
"What was initially planned for the forums was a requirement for people to use their real names in order to make posts on our official forums," Colayco said. "We still have a number of new features planned for our forums which we hope will help make the forums a better place for players to talk about our games, including the ability to up- or down-rate posts, post highlighting based on rating, and more."
The response below Blizzard's post was overwhelmingly positive, which is a 180-degree shift away from the comments attracted by their intentions to expand Real ID usage on the Battle.net forums. In the context of larger Internet privacy debates, it's worth noting how quickly Blizzard responded. In the end, however, they faced a public situation comparable to the one Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg confronted earlier this year. Both instances may provide lessons for other businesses facing privacy-related issues down the road.
Do you think Blizzard made the right call deciding not to require full names for posting? What place to you think Real ID should have going forward? Share your opinions in the comment section below.