Blizzard is currently riding high on the release of StarCraft II globally, but it wasn’t long ago that most of their fanbase was focusing on the controversial Real ID initiative. Michael Ryder, Blizzard’s vice president and executive managing director for international operations, gave something of a measured response to the question when asked if he was surprised by the reaction.
Well, we weren’t surprised to get feedback. That’s something that’s part of our culture. We know we’re really fortunate to have a lot of passionate players that care about what we do. So we always go out to the players and give them a heads up on what we’re thinking about doing, and we look for their feedback. In this case we got feedback, said Ryder. We were able to then take that feedback, reconsider, consider all the factors, of which that feedback was one. Ultimately we decided we would not go in that direction for the time being, and see if there were other ways we could address the objective we had, which was to improve the forums generally.”
So, all in all, the process worked. We put the word out. We got the feedback. We reconsidered. We made a change. We appreciate the fact that we have such passionate fans, he added.
When asked what Blizzard is considering doing to the forums instead, Ryder responded, There are a couple of things we’re doing and there are other things that we’re thinking about. But one of the things we’re doing is allowing people who are posting on the forums the ability to rate the post, so that the moderators can see where the quality conversations are happening. That will help. There are other things: an improved search function, for looking for different things in forums. We’re going to continue to try to find other ways to upgrade the quality of the experience in the forums.
While some might say this proves that Blizzard listens to their fans, Ryder was more humble about the implications. Certainly, getting feedback from our players is a big part of what we consider when we’re making changes or innovating. It reinforces the notion that we’re privileged to have those players that care and give us feedback, he concluded.