Currently there is a topic circulating the web that you just can’t ignore. RealID. You all know what’s coming now, what I’ll be saying, but I want to take the time to say it anyway.
Really. Bad. Idea.
Tankspot, Tobold, Spinks, Gnomeageddon, Shades of Grey – the list of very articulate, eloquent and popular blogs is endless, I won’t even try linking and quoting them. Just click through my blogroll and you’ll find that 90% of them say the same thing.
Now, I’m admitting that I’ve linked my Facebook profile to this blog. But that is something I chose to do – I also automatically link this blog from my Facebook account. The reason I feel comfortable doing this is that a) I’m not a high-profile poster or player and b) there are several other WoW players both in my company and among my Facebook contacts.
However, I wouldn’t (and didn’t) do this from the beginning. And I wouldn’t do this if the general perception of gaming was different in my current job environment. Every potential employer today uses the power of Google. Automatically letting him find out you’re a hardcore WoW progression raider – really bad idea. And what if a CEO of a company dares to relax on his weekends by casually playing WoW for a couple of hours? He’s likely to be on Xing or a comparable network. Google, RealID, WoW – “No, I don’t think we should offer that contract to this company, their CEO doesn’t look very business-man like”.
I brought the topic of RealID up with a few colleagues who are WoW’ers and who don’t follow the Cataclysm build-up that closely. Their initial reaction: “Have they gone fucking mad? That’s the single most stupid idea I’ve ever heard!” And that was the PG-13 version.
It doesn’t help that we (as in our company) are currently working hard to implement more privacy protection for our customers, anonymising data, separating data storages, introducing tight guideline on how to work with customer data and so on. Pretty much every company today has to be on edge how to treat the personal data of their customers. And then comes Blizzard.
Yes, you can disable RealID. I tried. The mail for the parental controls doesn’t arrive. Yes, I mailed Blizzard support, stating that I want to disable RealID. No answer.
Blizzard, you should learn from the numerous PR disasters Facebook had in the past whenever they tried dropping privacy protection features. You are in a hugely powerful position as market leader in MMORPGs. With great power comes great responsibility.
There is still time to stop RealID. Do so. I have not seen a single positive post on this matter. Never before has the blogosphere (and the forums) been so unanimously stating the same fact: Really. Bad. Idea.