Blizzard "listening to feedback" on Real ID

Does plan to enforce use of real names.

Blizzard has said that it is "definitely listening to player feedback" on its decision to insist players use their real names when posting on its forums.

"[We] will be carefully monitoring how people are using the service," a Blizzard rep told Gamasutra this week. "Real ID is a new and different concept for Blizzard gamers - and for us as well - and our goal is to create a social gaming service that players want to use."

The move, which will force players to use their Real ID - the real name associated with their Battle.net master account - when posting, was met with a storm of protest when it was announced this week.

Blizzard explained that, although players can register any name they wish when signing up for a Battle.net Real ID, it will attempt to enforce the use of real names.

"We have multiple teams here who will be monitoring the forums and looking for inappropriate names," the rep explained. "When the situation does arise, our community and customer service representatives will investigate and determine if any action is needed.

"In addition, our Terms of Use agreement requires that players provide us with accurate information, as certain aspects of the customer service we provide (for example, addressing forgotten-password issues) rely on identity verification - if a player uses a fake name, it would ultimately impact our ability to provide him or her with timely service."

A Blizzard employee going by the handle Bashiok revealed his real name, Micah Whipple, on the forums in the course of the debate. WoW Riot responded by quickly finding and publishing Whipple's address, phone number, age, the names of his family, his Facebook page and lists of his favourite music and movies, to illustrate the privacy and identity theft issues raised by Blizzard's decision.

"It's important to note that both enabling Real ID in game and posting on the official Blizzard forums are completely optional," Blizzard told Gamasutra. "Players can continue to read the forums anonymously regardless of whether they choose to post in them, and their gameplay experiences will not change if they choose not to use the Real ID communication features in game."

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