If you’ve been playing Blizzard games like World of Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft, Hearthstone, and the recent Overwatch over the years, you know the name Battle.net as being synonymous with the developer’s own. First introduced back in 1996 with the debut of the original Diablo, Battle.net was Blizzard’s core multiplayer platform used to power every game that followed. But after 20 years of use, Blizzard announced last week that it was putting the name to rest.
This doesn’t mean the platform is going away, mind you, just that the developer won’t be referring to it by that name, instead using the far less catchy term of ‘Blizzard technology.’ In their announcement of the change, Blizzard notes that the Battle.net name is essentially a holdover from an era when native multiplayer gaming and matchmaking weren’t common, let alone expected features.
When Battle.net first launched, online gaming was still a novelty, and the platform served as a way for players to find others and join multiplayer matches. This is all technology that is built-in and expected of any games with multiplayer features today.
“When we created Battle.net, the idea of including a tailored online-gaming service together with your game was more of a novel concept, so we put a lot of focus on explaining what the service was and how it worked, including giving it a distinct name. Over time, though, we’ve seen that there’s been occasional confusion and inefficiencies related to having two separate identities under which everything falls — Blizzard and Battle.net.”
While it’s sad to see the name go for longtime fans of Blizzard games, it is understandable that the dual branding could be confusing for newer players. The developer notes that the name transition will take place over the coming months.