Rebranding is nothing new in the tech industry. We see it all the time, but sometimes it really hits home when a long-standing institution is hit with it as part of our evolving world. Battle.net launched twenty years ago back in 1996 going live alongside Blizzard’s Diablo making it one of the earliest pioneers in having an online platform. In 1996, Blizzard had rolled out a platform that to this day we’re just seeing other companies match, like the Bethesda Launcher.
However, after 20 years, Blizzard has decided to retire the name Battle.net. In an announcement, they state that they will be transitioning aways from the Battle.net name, while maintaining the technology and features. The new name for it will be Blizzard Tech and for certain areas there they will refer to things like Blizzard Streaming, and Blizzard Voice. Other changes along these lines will be coming in the future.
The reason that Blizzard gives for this change has a lot to do with branding. In 1996, the idea of a platform for online play was relatively unique and thus they wanted it to have a distinct name and spent a lot of time explaining how it worked. With it becoming a standard feature of many games, now they say that they no longer feel, “a need to maintain a separate identity for what is essentially our networking technology.”
This would presumably also make marketing and branding easier in general and for those who didn’t grow up with the Battle.net name it will hopefully involve fewer explanations on why online play has a special name.
Sadly, this makes a lot of sense commercially but it does really suck there. They had likely two choices there – further evolving Battle.Net or just rolling it in so that you can focus your branding more. Still, as someone who has spent a ton of time on Battle.Net in the past, it is a sad day to see. Another giant of an era gone past has quietly disappeared into a corporate ledger to be forgotten.More About This Game