Now this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, considering Battle.net already has a unified login and Achievements for World of Warcraft, but Blizzard has revealed that their revamped matchmaking service (expected to be released alongside the delayed Starcraft II), will be very much like Microsoft’s Xbox Live.
Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard’s chief executive and rabble-rouser, called it a “social gaming network across all Blizzard’s future games”, and a total “investment in the future of gaming”. We’re pretty sure it’s an investment for Activision, that’s for sure. We’re putting money on the likelihood that Starcraft II and Diablo III will, much like Xbox Live, end up needing a monthly-payment subscription-based “Gold” account for things like leaderboards or ladder-matches. We might be wrong, time will tell, but it seems likely.
Head man from Blizzard, Mike Morhaime, added to the hyperbole by saying that the new Battle.net would “add social networking features, cross-game communications, unified log-in and account management, and more. Eventually, it will allow players to connect, communicate and share experiences with each other through the service regardless of which Blizzard games they are playing”. Yeah, we have that, it’s called forums, email, instant-messengers, and Facebook plugins that advertise your newest high-score.
Of course, we’re totally down with all of Blizzard’s future games having Achievements – one of the biggest imitations of Microsoft’s system added to World of Warcraft already – because being rewarded for doing what you were going to do anyway is awesome. More about the service should be revealed soon, with BlizzCon (Blizzard’s huge part-ay of over 20,000 gamers, tickets for which sold out in 8 minutes) almost upon us.