The interesting experiment is already getting interesting

Speaking of the untrustworthiness of corporate drones, the decision by Blizzard to end online anonymity is already having consequences. Protests have gotten so hot that they are banning complainers and shutting down threads, and people are unsubscribing from the game in protest (impossible to tell if there are enough numbers there to make a dent in their obscene profits, though). There have already been instances of people revealing their own names, only to have a horde of prickly adolescent gamers descend in force on their facebook pages and email, and doing the unimaginative trick of sending pizzas to their home address.

Their player base is already enriched for the competitive male gamer element, i.e. arrogant jerks. I’ve heard from and read about many women who are very careful to hide their sex while online, because they know exactly what kind of harassment they will get. Look at the cases of Kathy Sierra and Jill Filipovic for perfect examples of what to expect. There are some prominent gay guilds on WoW, too — their members may not appreciate being suddenly outed. Sure, it may reduce some of the flood of trollishness online at their forums…by transferring it offline, to real world abuse of anyone who doesn’t fit the smugly heteronormative line of the testosterone-addled.

Interesting experiment is failing spectacularly already. One good thing about it is that having the 900 pound gorilla of the gaming world set itself on fire and jump off a cliff might open up the market to a little more diversity.