On RealID and the Culture of Shame
I think Spinks summed it up best with this quote:
There was a time when Blizzard was viewed as a company run by and for gamers. That time is now over. Even aside from the wrongs or rights of the proposal [forum posts showing your real name], no company that fails so badly in understanding gamer culture can really claim to be one of us anymore.
Preach on, sister Spinks.
The obvious counter to this is: If we, as gamers, are afraid to come out and say we’re gamers, aren’t we [gamers] self-propagating the “Culture of Shame”? Well of course we are, but here’s the problem: Is that really worth fighting for? Do I want to go form a solidarity march with a bunch of other MMO-Gamers for equal public perception to claim I play video games as a hobby rather than “insert mainstream hobby here”? For me, that simple answer is no.
This isn’t equal voting rights, marriage laws, or freedom we’d be fighting for here, it would be nothing more than a change in the court of public opinion. It’s not worth potentially losing my job or having my name spattered across the internet to see that I don’t get branded an outcast for playing [having played] World of Warcraft. I know that I don’t live in my parents basement, weigh 600 lbs, or whatever other generic stereotypes are applied to gamers and that’s enough for me. I don’t want to bother having to make that argument with anyone else, though. I tell my friends that I know I trust that I’m a “gamer”; no one else needs to know. Period.
Look, I already get playfully mocked by my girlfriend for playing video games, I don’t need that expanding to every person on my Facebook account – which is exactly where this is headed, by the way. First it was time-stamped activities on the Armory, then RealID, now real names on the forums. I’m sure you’re aware Blizzard has a deal with Facebook. Put two and two together, folks. This isn’t at all about cleaning up the forums, this is about money and advertisements. That reminds me, though…
What I find truly humorous in all this is Blizzard’s perception that this is somehow going to clean up the forums. Don’t they understand that trolls do what they do for attention? How much the better if they get even more attention now – they’ll love nothing better than to banter with strangers who would dare to post on their Facebook page or call them at home. It’s been said multiple times on multiple blogs – if you want to enrich the forums, get better moderation. One needs to look only as far as Elitist Jerks to see that.
At the end of the day, I’m very glad I’ve quit WoW, and this gives me no incentive to return. Until RealID is gone, I’ll not be purchasing any Blizzard products.