In March 2017, Blizzard began the process of rebranding its long-standing online gaming platform Battle.net. Fans have grown very accustomed to the service over the last couple of decades, so many were quite upset — and now the company has confirmed that it’s changing course as a result.
Yesterday, the studio behind World of Warcraft and Overwatch published a blog post laying out its revised plans for its online hub. Rather than transitioning away from the Battle.net moniker entirely, from next month it will be referred to as Blizzard Battle.net in order to bring it closer to the company’s broader branding efforts.
“Battle.net is the central nervous system for Blizzard games and the connective tissue that has brought Blizzard players together since 1996,” read the announcement. “The technology was never going away, but after giving the branding change further consideration and also hearing your feedback, we’re in agreement that the name should stay as well.”
Battle.net was originally released alongside Diablo, as a means of allowing players to chat with one another and enter multiplayer games. As games like Starcraft, Diablo II, and Warcraft III were released in subsequent years, the service became more and more sophisticated with all kinds of new features.
Given that so many of Blizzard’s most popular games offered engrossing online multiplayer, there was great benefit to the company operating its own infrastructure of this kind — especially when World of Warcraft introduced support for a revamped version of the service in 2009.
Today, Battle.net is arguably bigger than ever, serving as a portal to some of the biggest PC games of the moment like Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, and Hearthstone. It’s set to add another major multiplayer experience in the coming months, as the PC version of Destiny 2 will utilize the platform thanks to the relationship between Blizzard and Bungie’s parent company, Activision.
Battle.net was never going to change that much aside from its name, but there will be many fans who are very pleased by Blizzard’s decision. It doesn’t always make sense for a video game studio to buckle to the demands of their audience, but in this case we see very little downside.