Blizzard has withdrawn its previous announcement claiming that users wanting to post content in the Battle.net forums would have to use their real names.
Mike Morhaime CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment has stated "I'd like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. We've been constantly monitoring the feedback you've given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we've decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums."
The speed of Blizzard's response and the level from which it came paints a very clear picture of the community's reaction to this move. Worldwide news organizations featured gamer's disdain at the news that their hideaway would be compromised, while the Centre for Democracy and Technology had called for the immediate withdrawal of Blizzard's demand that real names be provided in the community's forums.
It does not appear, at this stage, that the Real ID project will be scrapped, simply the requirement to post under your real name will be; Real ID will become, in effect, optional. As Mr. Morhaime states:
". I want to make sure it's clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make Battle.net a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you'll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on Battle.net to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature."
The announcement closes with the usual comments of the importance of Blizzard's community to the developer, something which I always find surprising when I see as that should be so well-established and instilled into the company's operations that no comment should be necessary.