If you’ve touched PC gaming in the last two decades, chances are you’ve logged into the Battle.net service at least once. Blizzard Entertainment’s hugely popular online gaming network has connected all of the developer’s PC games since 1996, and while the service has expanded and added countless options over the years, the name has kept its name – which we at Ars great, given that ” dot net” sounds wonderfully dated.
Apparently 1996 called, and it wants its old-sounding domain name back.
Blizzard used his World of Warcraft blog to announce the name change news on Wednesday, where an unnamed representative confirmed that the company’s online matchmaking services will soon be called “Blizzard tech”. The company has not offered a firm date for the name change, except that we can expect the change “in the coming months.”
The post’s main explanation for the change is “occasional confusion and inefficiencies related to having two separate identities under which everything falls: Blizzard and Battle.net.” But really, that’s the sort of house-cleaning excuse that might have made more sense when Activision and its money showed up in 2008.
Frankly, the wording of the announcement makes it sound like this name change policy is the tip of the iceberg for Blizzard’s online service offerings; how exactly does a name change require an ongoing process of several months? The answer probably lies in the fact that we’re not just seeing an outright name change. “Blizzard technology” is described in the post as a collective term for several interconnected services, including “Blizzard Streaming”, which currently allows players to link their Blizzard credentials to a Facebook account to stream live gameplay on their Facebook accounts, and “Blizzard Technology”. Voice”, a cross-game VOIP system that still only exists in an alpha state.
Among Overexpected‘s popularity on consoles and Hearthstone‘s explosion in smartphone platforms, a major redesign of the Battle.n-er, sorry, Blizzard technology platform probably makes logistical sense should the company have more cross-platform connectivity in mind for its players. As Diablo series co-creator David Brevik once said the platform started out in a much more humble state, running solely on a single PC to serve as nothing more than a matchmaking system for swapping IP addresses for those launching original game on December 31, 1996.
There’s only so much sadness we can devote to this name change, especially if the name refers to something that looks like nothing like the original barebones service. Still, the veteran PC gamers at Ars today are rekindling their nostalgia and quietly whispering the phrase “zug zug” in honor of the original name.