Dean Takahashi, VentureBeat’s resident gaming reporter, scored some interviews with a couple of execs from Blizzard and Facebook in exchange for writing up how all of the new Facebook integrations will make Overwatch better. Or at least I’m pretty sure that’s how Blizzard execs agree to speak to the media at all.
His article leads with the under-the-radar announcement that a couple of Facebook APIs will be integrated into the Overwatch client. The first provides a find your friends-type service between Battle.net and Facebook. The second integration allows for games to be streamed via Facebook’s own live-streaming platform, Live.
The Facebook Login will go live later this month with Battle.net games such as World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, Diablo III, StarCraft II, and Blizzard’s most recent blockbuster release, Overwatch, using their Facebook accounts. That could help Blizzard address the problem that comes with anonymous accounts, such as hate speech and bullying.
The last remark in the blurb above anonymous accounts is something Blizzard could address itself, but clearly isn’t bothered enough about to invest time to fix that problem with a first-party solution, unlike some other fucking triple-A game developer who is at least trying to add a compromise of sorts.
Later on in the article, this red flag describes a potential end-game for all of this Facebook integration:
Adding Facebook Login will also pave the way for new social functionality in Blizzard games while highlighting Facebook as a platform of choice for sharing, viewing, and discussing AAA game content. As an example, Blizzard is in the process of incorporating Facebook’s Live API in order to add “Go Live” streaming functionality for its games.
With the flip of a few switches and a bit more money changing hands, a Facebook login might be the only way you could end up interacting with Blizzard support, a game’s forums, and other players in-game. While that might come off as a doomsday scenario to most, I don’t think it’s such an impossible leap, especially if Facebook continues to pay off ATVI for more exclusive in-roads to Blizzard’s other recent titles.
As for my take on all this…
Hey @PlayOverwatch, the moment you put game-essential features behind a Facebook login wall, I'm gonna need a refund.
— Brad Carr (@bcarr) June 6, 2016