Wednesday, July 7, 2010

RealID Woes

This is starting to get a bit annoying.

When RealID Friends thing came out, I was a fan, I liked being able to talk to friends on different servers and cross faction. I don't know why people became so defensive about Friends of Friends as all you see are names of people, not their characters so you might know I'm friends with George Jetson but you wouldn't know the names of his characters. So that didn't bug me too much.

However, this whole forum thing is starting to annoy me.

It precludes a large population from participating in the forums and I know I'd hesitate to post in certain volatile threads due to this, but I'm a 30 year old male, I have pretty little to worry about in terms of stalking or anything like that. But my guild has at least two minors (kids of 17) and about half my guild is female. They certainly have a lot to worry about.

At least one of the minors is worried his parents might cancel his subscription if this goes through and he is one of the most consistent, conscientious and productive members of my guild. I don't blame his parents (even though they could theoretically just block his access to the forums, but I can see their concern.)

Now that news is starting to leak of Blizzard and Activision having made some deal with Facebook for integration and cross-pollination - I see even less reason to force this onto people. Even worse, I can see a very easy solution to this:

Blizzard could - easily - tie into the account in the back end if that's what a user wanted. Say, I want to tie my RealID and Facebook together. Fine. Battle.Net announces that if I don't want my real name to show up, I need to log in and give them a nickname. Great - easily done. Now, I want to tie my profile into FB - again, easily done in the back end, my RSS feeds, preferences, etc, all feed into FB anonymously and my friends on FB can see my various characters in various games and if there are FB exclusive extensions to the main Blizzard properties, the tie-in can be two-sided, and I still retain my privacy.

Publically, I post with my Battle.Net nickname, while privately, my FB shows my friends all my various characters and achievements and such. It isn't a hard solution to code. There are plenty of other services that already do this (OpenID, etc.)

I don't know why they are taking the easy out. I don't mind that they're going the social networking route. I don't mind that they're wanting to make more money. Fine! But I'd prefer for them to give the consumer a choice of engagement and maybe even an incremental choice - all the way from opting out completely to total and open RealID/Facebook engagement and everything in between.

It wouldn't be hard. But I suppose, the time and energy and synergy involved in getting the companies to tie the links together would take longer and be more expensive. But I don't know - I'd think spending money to open up other avenues of income wouldn't be a bad thing?

Who can say. I'm just a lowly programmer, not a marketing executive with an MBA to make these decisions.

I hope this is a technology in evolution and not the final form of RealID. I hold out some hope.

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