It seems that the WoW forums are currently ablaze in the wake of Blizzard's newest announcement.
Blizzard is apparently looking to implement something that they're calling their "Real ID" system to their official forums (applying to WoW, Starcraft, etc.). Real ID does just what the name implies: posters using the system have their real names displayed, as opposed to their video game alias or character name. They have the option of adding such aliases as an addendum to the real name if they so choose.
To be clear, it looks like they've also included a method to opt-out of Real ID. Though the article linked there also mentions that due to a security flaw, players are opted-in to the system by default.
After catching a glimpse of this, and the consequences that are resulting (one Blizzard employee that volunteered his real name has apparently had to shut down his Facebook account soon after it was found) I wanted to bring it over to the FFXIV forum to mention for a few reasons: 1) I've really got no business posting in the WoW forums about it 2) I'm curious about the implications that it could have for other games (specifically, FFXIV) 3) I'm hoping to drive everyone here into hysterics as well.
I don't really know what to make of the whole thing. I don't really buy Blizzard's explanation: that this is a move to encourage a more positive forum experience through the removal of anonymity. If that were the case, then they wouldn't include an option to opt-out, which can readily be used by trolls and such. Rather, I have a feeling that this is a move designed to link Blizzard's games with social media. I see WoW Facebook updates and the like in the near future.
I'm curious what people here think of the prospects. Would you be comfortable giving up your anonymity in FFXIV? Would you like FFXIV to be linked with existing social media sites? For example, people you friend in FFXIV might be automatically friended in Facebook. You might get updates on when they're online, what they've achieved, or what they're currently doing in-game.
Is this the wave of the future? I'll confess that I'm not very comfortable with how fast and loose social media plays with privacy (I had a Facebook account once, but deleted it due to such concerns). Social media also often uses the Trojan Horse of "increased personalization" as a means of extracting personal data for marketing purposes. Will we soon be seeing personalized ads within our games?
I don't know how things are done in Japan...they have a very different take on personal privacy from what I understand. Would it preclude Square-Enix from making a move like this?
PS: If there's anything I'm misunderstanding about the situation, please let me know. I'm only going on a cursory look-over there.
Edited, Jul 8th 2010 7:09pm by Eske