Battle.net is going away. Don’t worry! Your loot boxes are safe. The technology behind the service is staying, but the name is on the way out.
Blizzard, the publisher of online megahits like World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Overwatch, revealed today that it is dumping the “Battle.net” as the name of its gaming service. The company will continue to use that tech to connect players and games online, but it explained in a blog post that it no longer sees the need to offer distinct branding for its network now that the average consumer understands and expect online functionality. On top of that, Blizzard claims it would occasionally see confusion among consumers who didn’t realize that Blizzard and Battle.net are the same thing.
“We’re going to be transitioning away from using the Battle.net name for our gaming service and the functionality connected to it,” reads the blog. “Battle.net technology will continue to serve as the central nervous system for Blizzard games — nothing is changing in that regard. We’ll just be referring to it as Blizzard tech instead.”
That shift has already begun. Most recently, the publisher has introduced new features like Blizzard Streaming, which is a feature that enables gamers to broadcast gameplay directly to Facebook from within their games.
While Battle.net has a storied legacy after debuting way back in 1996 to offer online gaming in the dungeon-crawling role-playing adventure Diablo, the publisher thinks the name has outlived its usefulness.
“When we created Battle.net, the idea of including a tailored online-gaming service together with your game was more of a novel concept, so we put a lot of focus on explaining what the service was and how it worked, including giving it a distinct name,” reads the Blizzard blog. “Over time, though, we’ve seen that there’s been occasional confusion and inefficiencies related to having two separate identities under which everything falls — Blizzard and Battle.net. Given that built-in multiplayer support is a well-understood concept and more of a normal expectation these days, there isn’t as much of a need to maintain a separate identity for what is essentially our networking technology.”
Unfortunately for Blizzard, I’m old, and I’ve never called Sears Tower in Chicago by whatever its new name is. So Blizzard’s network technology will always be Battle.net to me.