Blizzard announces that it is transitioning away from Battle.net in name and functionality, although the existing infrastructure will remain in place.
Whether gamers are young or old, chances are most have some familiarity with Blizzard's long stead online service, Battle.net. The online gaming platform has been standing up to the test of time since 1996, but a recent announcement posted by Blizzard has confirmed that Battle.net is finally going the way of the wind. However, all is not as cut and dry as it seems: all the existing services of Battle.net will remain in place, but the name and identity of the service itself are due to be rebranded.
Perhaps sensing that gamers might panic upon hearing that Battle.net (a service which allows players to play the likes of World of Warcraft, StarCraft 2, and Overwatch) was to be shut down, Blizzard was quick to explain that the change would ultimately only impact branding and future games, with existing Battle.net technologies remaining in place to serve gamers for current and past titles:
"We’re going to be transitioning away from using the Battle.net name for our gaming service and the functionality connected to it. Battle.net technology will continue to serve as the central nervous system for Blizzard games—nothing is changing in that regard."
Blizzard went on to explain that transition away from the classic name is due to the fact when the service was first announced, having an online component as part of a video game was an unexpected feature and a 'novel concept', so the studio decided to create the Battle.net identity to draw attention to this. Now that gaming has evolved to naturally include connectivity – be it with multiplayer, problematic DRM, or even just items like achievements – Blizzard no longer feels that it has to distinguish the online-focused technology with its own overarching branding.
As previously stated, that doesn't mean that games currently using Battle.net technology will cease to function. The hardware and services behind the platform will remain in place, and on the gamer side of things it's merely the name of Battle.net itself that is being shifted away from the spotlight. Blizzard will now name features using a more unified naming structure, like "Blizzard Voice" or "Blizzard Streaming". It certainly makes sense on the branding front, and ultimately should make little difference for gamers as a whole, nostalgia factors aside.
Still, many gamers are bound to have fond memories of late nights spent on Battle.net playing games like the original Diablo, where Battle.net saw humble beginnings as a chat and game listing interface. Blizzard and its online entertainment capabilities have come far since, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds in the post-Battle.net era.
Battle.net would have had its 20 year anniversary this November 30th.