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Blizzard “miscalculated” over Real ID forum furore

Friday, 22nd October 2010 08:07 GMT By Johnny Cullen

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Battle.net director Greg Canessa has told Joystiq that Blizzard had “miscalculated” over the controversy surrounding Real ID earlier this year.

The company was due to implement a system where forum users on Blizzard’s website had to identify themselves via their real names.

That was soon scrapped following the backlash towards it, but some parts of the Real ID program were still implemented.

But Canessa said lessons have been learned over what happened.

“The vision behind Real ID was to maintain parallel levels of identity: we have that sort of anonymous character level of identity, and then that Real ID tier that spans games, and there are incremental features that you get for being part of the Real ID community,” he said.

“The vision for that spanned games, got into cross-game chat and so forth. In reality, the in-game social suite was very popular, the cross-game chat that we did, the stuff within StarCraft 2.

“Of course it was less successful in the forums, you know. Some of the lessons we learned there — maintaining some form of anonymity is important to gamers and the gaming community, hence the two-tiered model that we embraced ended up being the right call.”

He added: “We just didn’t think it was as big a deal in terms of a story as the stuff we were doing over here. We miscalibrated; we miscalculated. We very quickly changed our position on it once we realized it was a serious issue for our community.”

As for new Battle.net features, Canessa didn’t rule out other Blizzard games interacting with each other for unlocking bonuses.

“We definitely would love to head in that direction, and we have some plans,” he said, although nothing specific was nailed down.

“We believe there are ways to add on and enhance the individual game offerings through achievements, unlockables, social networking features and such, and do it in such a way that it doesn’t unbalance any one of the games, or provide commercial advantages for owning all of them.

“That’s not Blizzard. We don’t want to create layers, ‘Hey, if you buy all our stuff …’ That’s not the focus.”

Canessa added that the company does have a few aces up the hole for the service.

“We’ve always got a few tricks up our sleeve to talk about. we can’t tell you now, that would spoil it!”

It’s possible we’ll hear about those at Blizzcon when it kicks off in California later this evening BST, where Diablo III will have “a good focus”, according to Blizzard PR manager Bob Colayco.

Nathan and Justin will be there for us for all the liveblogging action. Get the skinny here.

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