It is with a heavy heart that we announce the death of Battle.net, Blizzard’s multigame platform. For 20 years, players used the program to access their games and support networks through a central service. Now, before it reaches its 21st “birthday”, Battle.net will be no more, will cease to be, will expire and go to meet its maker.
Battle.net will merely be renamed “Blizzard Tech”, in an attempt by the company to rebrand its service. According to an update on their World of Warcraft forums posted on Sept. 21st, Blizzard has decided to move away from the “Battle.net” brand. Over the next few months, Blizzard will phase out the use of the name in favor of the new moniker. The developer cited a variety of reasons for the change, including a need to unify their brand as well as prevent confusion about multiple names.
The response from Blizzard players on their forums has been overwhelmingly negative. While some just joke about the change, others responded less humorously with dismissal, denial, or anger:
“I’m never going to stop calling it battlenet” – Cryptrot
“You should probably go ahead and fire your marketing director or whoever told you it was a good idea to change the name of a major identity in your brand for the last 20 years.” – Goonygöön
“The rebrand will not change our lives, but it does seem really unnecessary. Blizzard is a company, battle.net is the product. And a rather good one. Should Valve rebrand Steam to “Valve platform” or something similar? No, absolutely not.” – Blackluc
“So call it Blizzard’s Battle.net. Battle.net sound cooler than Blizzard.net if that is where you guys are going. Don’t let Battle.net die again!” – Nausícaa
“Personally i think this is a mistake. Who in their right mind doesn’t get that Blizzard owns Battle.net….” – Morinehtar
Like many attempts at change, loyal fans remain resistant to anything they perceive as a threat to the familiar or traditional. Many question the reasoning behind the move, given the 20th anniversary of the service. Others want to know who could be confused… excepting maybe old BattleTech players.
Using a central name, however, makes sense given the need to attract new players to a single brand. I’m simply not sure if “Blizzard Tech” was the best choice, a concern shared by others. The jokes about that label include everything from being an internship program to snowmaking equipment.
Regardless, Blizzard will move forward, and this change will likely become nothing more than an annotation in gaming history. The newer generation of players will no more remember Battle.net anymore than current generations remember the origins of Nintendo. In the meantime, we’ll simply enjoy our Blizzard games through Battle.net… sorry, Blizzard Tech. Whatever its name, just hit the “PLAY” button and have fun.