What Would Matt Do

I reckon I aim to play some games.

Archive for the ‘Big Business’ Category

[Updated] Blizzard makes plans to conduct largest internet social experiment ever

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Update: Man, that was fast. As a friend suggested, maybe this was a PR move. “Now that we aren’t going to do obviously outrageous thing, here’s what we’ll do instead…” We shall see.

Blizzard’s Plan

If you are any sort of MMO player or you know one, you probably have already heard about Blizzard’s plans to use what they call RealID. The basics are this:

  • If you use the system and friend anyone else, they can see your real name. It’s not based on character or server, it’s your unique ID with your real name tied to it. No more anonymity in Blizzard games, basically.
  • It will also allow you to do as Steam does now, track people across games. It’s an external friending service, rather than a friend system in a specific game.
  • Some other stuff Blizzard totes as really helpful.

The reality and the why

Here’s the part they don’t mention on that link above…yes, it’s completely optional, but if you want to post on any Blizzard forum, you will have to use your RealID, and hence, your real name. Not to mention once the system gets started and guilds start to require it, as we all know they will, you’ll be giving it up to people you often only known in an online capacity. Why play with someone anonymously, when you can play with them where they have some accountability. It’ll sweep the entire game like wildfire. There will be holdouts of course, but for any serious (read catass) WoW players, they are basically seeing the writing on the wall of having to now be out, so to speak.

Why is Blizzard doing this? Well, if you don’t know, public forums are really hard to control (great, long article). And Blizzard has one of the largest, if not the largest, gaming forum online because of how popular WoW is (most popular MMO of all time still). As you can see from this very scientific documentation, people online aren’t always 1) aware they aren’t anonymous and 2) able to control themselves when anonymous. It’s hilarious and sadly true.

Internet Assholery (or IA) been a big problem for online forums of all types pretty much since the beginning of the internet. There is some disconnect with many people when they think there are no repercussions for their actions. This guy can probably explain it better, and even offers up how he’d like to track the changes.


The reasons no one has done this before

Well, let’s start with some simple examples. Since Blizzard announced this, a few people defending it have offered up their real names. This guy and this guy have both probably thought better of it now. You see, you aren’t actually anonymous anywhere. You aren’t in real life obviously, but you aren’t on the internet either (well, 99.9% of us aren’t). Everything you do online can be tied back to you in one way or another. Even without your real name being given out; that just makes it easier. Look at both of the examples above. The people tracking down these guys used their real names to get started tracking them down, but if they had any other piece of information, or postings where you shared pretty much anything, or posted anything, you can be tracked. Just because you use a fake name on a forum, don’t think that means that people can’t find you. There are a thousand stories of people online being tracked down, well before Blizzard ever even thought of this idea or even running an MMO. It’s a fact of internet life most people don’t realize.

Ok, so we aren’t really anonymous. Well, we aren’t really anonymous once we start engaging. If we post on any forum, any page comments, facebook, etc, not only is that all trying to be tracked by your ISP, it starts to link information to your fake online identity. Which has an IP address, which has a real name attached, etc, etc, etc. So what’s the problem then? Well, because people feel they are anonymous, they act as stated above AND because they aren’t particularly well informed, they believe other people are anonymous. So things like this don’t happen as often as they could.

For others, the big concerns are what are going to happen to the groups of people that really needed the anonymity. For instance, women and/or minorities. No longer can they go online in WoW and join up to a guild or post in forums without people knowing their ethnicity (many names alone suggest this, sometimes as wrong as not) or their sex. Why is this a problem? Well, as you might guess, many gamers are socially retarded. I don’t say that without some self reflection, as a gamer, but I also say it as someone who thinks that invading people’s personal lives is well beyond something I’d condone or do. For many others, it’s just a matter of access to the information. Without the it-takes-more-work-than-its-often-worth-to-figure-out-someones-real name barrier, this sort of thing may happen more. If you’ve ever gone on XBox Live, you’re probably aware of how idiotic people can be online.

To boot, who would be responsible for all of this in a court of law? Some might argue that it’s the company that requires people to give up their anonymity to post on their forum or to be in any of the more serious guilds (I state this as fact, but it could turn out otherwise). Blizzard may very well see lawsuits based on their plan.

Why it’s a potential good thing in the long run

Didn’t expect that title, did you? Well, just think about it for a second. If people have to start thinking when they post online, this could be tied back to me, maybe, just maybe, they will stop acting like assholes. Maybe it will sink in that they aren’t anonymous and that they should have the social grace to handle themselves like they were talking with actual people. Hey, it could happen. As a matter of fact, I think it will happen in the long term. And if this social experiment works for Blizzard, expect more and more companies to do it. The internet isn’t going to directly expose you in the future, you are. You will have to sign up for and validate your identity at every site you want to post on. And you will be banned based on your real identity. No more just signing up another account. And once multiple sites start requiring real names, they will all start using the same service and to post, you’ll have to give up a link that shows your entire internet posting history. For some, this going to be a HUGE change. For others like myself, that have been posting under their real names for a long time, it won’t be such a huge thing. But notice I don’t directly state my full name anywhere on this site, though any enterprising person could easily track me down. I like that layer of separation for my personal site. Heck, many people that read here do so because they know me in RL, so it’s not that big of a deal, but that layer of obfuscation, that bit of work required to track me down, gives me at least a bit more of a wall between the world and my personal life. That I’m sharing for anyone in the world to read… Ya, dumb, I know. But that’s the whole point. Many people aren’t even aware that the anonymity is a lie.

What Would Matt Do: I’d wish Blizzard all of the best. I like the concept and I eagerly await details of how it goes. I’d love to see the things that Jamie mentions on his site above (povg) so we can get real metrics on how this social experiment on a grand scale goes down. Here’s hoping Blizzard not only shares that information at some future date, but that they realize they may be setting a trend for the much of the future of the internet and go…wisely into that great beyond.

Update: Jay and Silent Bob thought about this a long time ago.

Update II: Lots of people are angry. I’m not sure I disagree with them even. It’s a very tough issue.

[edited for grammer. probably more than once.]

Written by Matt

July 8th, 2010 at 11:57 am

Dear Mr. President

with 2 comments

Dear Mr. President,

I’m going to ask you to do something now. Listen. Not because I’m smarter than anyone else or because I’m more important. But because I’m not those things. I’m just a guy. Who thinks you might want be a better president than you have been so far. I’m sharing because as song goes, this land is your land, this land is my land.

First, please take over the BP operation right now. I don’t mean stop BP and bring in your own people, I mean use your executive power and take over the corporation, at least temporarily. Use the fact they are criminals and have committed crimes here and now. Or however you need to phrase it. If you can do it with banks, you can do it with oil companies. Use their resources properly, aimed to stem the damage and clean it honestly, not white wash it with chemicals that may be worse than the original spill. Make them start giving you the truth. Then form a council. Invite not CEOs of oil companies, but the most experienced engineers in the field, experts of oil rigs and plugging of leaks underwater, long time navy guys who know about deep pressure, environmentalists who’ve worked with oil spills before, and more. Don’t just talk to other countries, ask them to send their topmost experts. Then have them come up with solutions. All you have to do is ask, people will come help, again, at least temporarily. And the longer you wait, the more BP destroys livelihoods, environments and people.

Second, please start being serious about fixing our oil/coal addiction. I know big corporations with lots of money and power are aligned against that idea AND have funded your presidency. So what. Fight the power. There are many ways to approach this. I’m not an expert in these things. But you know what? Some people are. There are scientists that have great ideas to completely change the way our country runs and the energy it uses. Maybe you could form a council here too. A longer term bigger thing. A scientific council established for the betterment of the country. Hire them. Hire the best people in academics and in the industry. Pay them richly. You could hire then guys, pay them a couple of million each and it would cost less to have them for your whole presidency than it would to build one fighter plane. While you’re forming dream teams, the Ring of Fire guys would be great.

Third, and this ties into the above one, please employ the country. Yeah, politicians will complain. So what? If you use the council created above and get a plan to overall the entire energy grid and power our country off say the deserts in the south because the grid can now transfer energy anywhere…guess who can build that? Our people. You can train them, you can employ them, you can enable them. Not give a handout, put them to work for the betterment of all. People will come in droves. You will educate them in a field and empower them to provide for themselves. And they will love you for it. You’ll be fixing the country and helping the people. That’s just one way. There are so many different ways you could take the 10% of population of who a large amount actually want work and put them to working to change how our country works. With a real energy grid (not a magical one, other countries have done this), we could be off oil and coal and nuclear in 20 years maybe.

That’s not all, but that’s a start. Start thinking of the people. If you start acting from that place, from the place of what’s the best thing for the people, not for the other politicians or for just your voter base or for anything but the people, you’ll start making decisions that will make us love you…instead of just being happy your not as bad as the last guy. In less that’s all your looking to be, not as bad.

I hope this finds you and yours well, and I truly hope you listened. I voted for you. I didn’t believe your words, but I knew you’d be better than the alternatives. But a part of me was really hoping you were the man you gave speeches like. You can still be that man.

Thank you,


Written by Matt

May 28th, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Biggest game budget ever.

with one comment

According to some guesses and estimates based on some number EA released, Scott suggests that The Old Republic has about a 150 million budget.


That’s a huge budget. That bigger than most movies get. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that game budgets are starting to out do movie budgets, but it should get us some damn interesting games.

I’m pulling for it big time…because I want to play the game they keep talking about. Hopefully the one they release will be something like the one they keep pitching (often rare).

What Would Matt Do:: Keep an eye on this baby and try to get in the beta for sure.

Written by Matt

March 24th, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Wii update 4.2 may brick your console. Is it worth it?

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From /. games:

Now, Nintendo has pushed a boot2 update to all Wii users, and the results are what was expected: users are reporting bricks after installing 4.2 on unmodified consoles. Nintendo is currently attempting to censor posts and remove references to homebrew. It is worth noting that the new boot2 does not attempt to block anything or offer any additional protection or functionality. Its sole purpose is to simply replace current versions which may or may not have been modified with BootMii. Another interesting tidbit is that Nintendo is not believed to have any method to repair this kind of brick at a factory, short of replacing the entire motherboard."

So in their haste to combat those .01% Wii users (my guesstimate of homebrew users), they are releasing code that could brick a Wii AND they may not have anyway other than sending in the system to get it fixed?


Why is it all right for regular users to suffer to combat a very small percentage of the users that do things with their console that Nintendo doesn’t approve of? We all know, even Nintendo knows, that you can’t stop piracy/homebrew/etc with mere software updates. The pirates are crafty and will just release a new version of their software. So why does Nintendo spend so much time working against them, at the expense of their bigger customer base?

I don’t know. I hope Nintendo knows. Because this is irresponsible at best.


What Would Matt Do: Wonder why Nintendo is so headstrong to get pirates when they represent such a small part of their console owners… I mean, I know companies don’t like it when people steal their shit. That’s a given. But is this course worth it? What next, Nintendo will start releasing updates that make your promise you’re not a pirate before you use console? Because that’s about how effective these updates are, except regular paying customers are also being hit with the flack.

Written by Matt

October 1st, 2009 at 11:46 am

Fastest way to make stop buying games from your company, start supporting Glenn Beck.

with 10 comments


I just saw this link being passed around by Game Politics. It’s simple, short and really gets the point across:

it looks like Stardock CEO Brad Wardell has taken the boycott a step further. According to the Angry Bear blog, Wardell has announced on his Facebook page that he is now boycotting UPS because they pulled their ads from Fox. He said Stardock does "a non-trivial amount of shipping with UPS" and if they did not change their position, he was taking Stardock’s business to FedEx.

The point? Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock, makers of great games like Galactic Civ, publisher of Demigod, and developer of upcoming Elemental is now supporting a seriously insane man.

The main point? I’m no longer advocating nor supporting anything Stardock is involved with. Sadly enough.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m for each to their own, but when you take it from your opinion to your company line, that changes things. For instance, I have a mechanic who I’ve been with for years now. One of the most honest, good mechanics I’ve ever met (Trust me, it’s hard to find a good mechanic) who also is a serious republican and a huge supporter of McCain. But at no point did he make me start supporting his views, donating to his charities, or stop using companies because they didn’t agree with his views.

If you can’t get have separation between your radically awful ideas and your company, then I can no longer support you or your activities. Maybe every company should be polliticially driven and advocate for their guys and their ideas…but until recently, Stardock wasn’t, even though Brad Wardell was.

That has changed and so has my opinion of the company. So, with that, I won’t be buying any more Stardock games. Plain and simple.


What Would Matt Do: I’ll stop anticipating Elemental and stop caring what else Stardock does. A very sad day in gaming.


Written by Matt

September 28th, 2009 at 2:00 pm