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Privacy Games Your Rights Online

Blizzard Rolls Out Real ID Privacy Options 145

tacarat writes "The last time Blizzard mentioned their new Real ID system, there was a strong backlash from users over privacy issues. Blizzard reconsidered their plans to require real names for forums, and little has been heard about it since. Now, they've announced new privacy settings, allowing users to limit how their name gets shared or to disable the system entirely. Quoting: 'These options provide Real ID users with additional tools for customizing the service based on their preferences, enabling the ability to opt in or out of the Real ID "Friends of Friends" and "Add Facebook Friends" features or to turn off Real ID altogether.'"
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Blizzard Rolls Out Real ID Privacy Options

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  • Dear Blizzard... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by syousef ( 465911 ) on Friday October 01, 2010 @01:15AM (#33756000) Journal

    Dear Blizzard,

    Gaming is my escape. I don't want harsh realities, real names, and idiotic DRM ruining my suspension of disbelief. If you create a system that brings me back to reality to resolve issues and work around bugs, I'm going to find other ways to spend my leisure time. I already have a Facebook account and rarely use it because I have better things to do.


    A. Gamer

  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Friday October 01, 2010 @01:26AM (#33756054) Homepage

    There has to be a PHB behind this.

  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Friday October 01, 2010 @01:37AM (#33756098)

    Banning or shaming customers who disagree with you and publicly say so is no way to run a business. It doesn't leave you in the perfect world where everybody agrees with you, it leaves you in a world where nobody cares about you and you go away.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 01, 2010 @02:05AM (#33756174)

    If your own forums about yourself are a circus, you're clearly doing something wrong.

    Except when it's a game company. Read some WoW forums and behold: hordes of clowns inhabiting Blizzard forums.

    If they are Blizzard's fault then the fault is that Blizzard makes its games for widest possible audience. That includes drooling idiots. But hey, as long as they are _paying_ drooling idiots..

  • by Undead Waffle ( 1447615 ) on Friday October 01, 2010 @02:30AM (#33756264)

    Banning or shaming customers who disagree with you and publicly say so is no way to run a business. It doesn't leave you in the perfect world where everybody agrees with you, it leaves you in a world where nobody cares about you and you go away.

    I don't believe this is about silencing dissenting opinion. RealID is about other things beyond forums. If you believe that using RealID in the forums was about altering posting behavior, then it was simply a conveniently available tool to attempt leveraging peer pressure to self-police the community. In which case, whoever came up with the idea is out of touch and / or delusional. More likely RealID is buying in to the whole "social media" thing and, even more so, the marketing / "monitization" strategies associated with it.

    Basically this. I suspect this is part of Activision's plan to get the most out of Blizzard. Use their popularity to try to force some sort of social networking BS to masses of people in hopes of building it into something larger when it starts to catch on.

  • Re:ugh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:16AM (#33756548)

    Data on customers = targeted advertisements... A product that only 40 year old men will buy is best advertised to only 40 year old men. A service that only has 40 year old men on it gets a substantial premium from these advertisers since none of the "eye balls" they're paying for are wasted.

    Facebook integration is just a way to pull more data about your customers out of the system. Either directly or by some bargain with Facebook.

    Even though a targeted ad structure is the most likely growth from this type of policy I do not think it is all about increasing ad revenue; you also make the fact that people play their games more public. From their stand point nothing but good can, and has come, from this line of policy. (The 15 free headlines from the first Real ID announcement vastly exceeded any repercussions from WoW trolls.)

  • by Kreigaffe ( 765218 ) on Friday October 01, 2010 @07:57AM (#33757314)

    The thing is that none of the important things the RealID friend system does couldn't be done better by simply NOT USING PEOPLE'S REAL FUCKING NAMES.

    That's the issue. It's really not a bad system, if it just DIDN'T USE PEOPLE'S REAL FUCKING NAMES.

    There's also the unsavory fact that releasing RealID to their forums with intentions of it reducing trolling reveals that Blizz believes people should be afraid of RL consequences for forum posts while at the same time telling people they're completely safe and nobody would hunt them down (either in person or simply via the electronic trail) and cause RL consequences for the things they post. The entire premise they based releasing RealID on the forums was that tying your name to your posts would cause you to behave due to the fear of people identifying that post as coming from you, specifically, the real person -- while at the same time telling everyone that it's still pretty anonymous and safe, stop worrying so much. Idiots twice over.

  • by silentcoder ( 1241496 ) on Friday October 01, 2010 @08:13AM (#33757396)

    Why are you still screaming about the forums ? We already WON that battle - the company listened to their users and changed their stance ! What the hell more do you want from a company ?

    This article is about them listening to users regarding the in-game version and adding features people wanted. The one you're getting vitriolic about and cussing over is one I already mentioned. These latest changes show them being responsive to people's concerns - even if clearly they are not getting the kind of high developer priority you demand - some of us think that what with having cataclysm in beta their developer resources may be a just a tad strained at the moment. It's a positive sign and promising with regard to getting the other features we would like in the near future.

    Can't you be happy about that ?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 01, 2010 @08:39AM (#33757538)

    Seems quite similar to what Apple has been doing with their attempt at social networking, Ping.

    To use Ping, your public ID has to match the real name on your billing info exactly. The thing is - this isn't entirely clear and you may only find this out after you change your Ping name and wonder why your iTunes purchases are now being billed to "Anon E Mouse". Even worse, every review you have ever written pseudonymously on iTunes get retrospectively changed to your full name as given in your billing information. Although it's probably buried a few pages into the T&C, I doubt most Ping users are aware of this.

    Facebook's privacy debacles have been well publicised, Blizzard has been pushing for using your full name as an online identity (given the behaviour of some Blizzard users, one should be very, very worried about this), Apple is getting in on the "Privacy, what privacy?" action, and even Eric Schmidt from "do no evil" Google has said ""If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place".

    I don't see this trend ending any time soon, unfortunately.

  • by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Friday October 01, 2010 @08:47AM (#33757598)

    No, let's clarify this.

    When Real ID was announced, my response (having previously been stalked and cyberstalked by a psychotic ex) was to write a nice letter to Blizzard telling them precisely where they could shove "Real ID."

    The default should be opt-out, no question!

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Friday October 01, 2010 @10:40AM (#33758780)

    If you don't like the way your dealer is treating you, feel free to quit the crack.


    Yeah, that's what I thought.

  • by RobDude ( 1123541 ) on Friday October 01, 2010 @11:11AM (#33759258) Homepage

    I think people are suffering from a 'false dilemma' mentality.

    "I want some features this thing would give me, so I have to support the whole thing. Because that's the only way I could get those features."

    All of the social aspects you are describing could be achieved *without* it ever being tied to your actual identity.

    You need (or at least used to need) a Battlenet account. All of your characters are associated with that account. Adding the ability to be 'account friends' or 'account guilds' that would let all of your alts on all of your servers make your Bnet account appear online to your Bnet friends - can all be done, without tying anything to your real name.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter