Blizzard is killing Battle.net just a few months shy of the online gaming service’s 20th birthday — killing the name, anyway. No, Overwatch and Hearthstone aren’t going permanently offline or anything, you’ll just be calling the service that hosts and updates your Blizzard games something else from now on.
In a post on its official forums, Blizzard announced that it is “transitioning away from using the Battle.net name for our gaming service and the functionality connected to it.” Instead, it’ll use the considerably more boring convention where it just puts the name Blizzard in front of things, like Blizzard Streaming and Blizzard Voice. So presumably Battle.net will be Blizzard Gaming? Blizzard Launcher?
The reasoning is that back in 1996, when Battle.net was established (for the original Diablo — good times) it was necessary to make it clear that this was a new and distinct online service. But over the years, “confusion and inefficiencies” apparently resulted from having a separate name for the service, and multiplayer is just an ordinary part of games these days, not something that requires separate branding.
Kind of true, but I still think this is a bad idea. Battle.net is an established and respected brand, known by gamers young and old. It’s synonymous with online matchmaking and gaming — I mean, it’s right there in the name! Throwing away years of history like that is generally a bad idea, even when there are benefits to be had — and I don’t really see any benefits here. What if Steam was renamed Valve Store? Everyone would know Valve is behind it, sure, but you lose a household name in the process.
Well, there’s no arguing with it. Blizzard has clearly made its decision and we’re all going to have to call Battle.net something else soon.
We had some good times, Battle.net. RIP.