may soon support Discord-style groups and—hallelujah!—an 'appear offline' option

Steam does all kinds of stuff—some of it is interesting, some of it is kind of useless, but altogether it adds up to a very full-featured, robust digital distribution platform and quasi social network., on the other hand, is mainly that thing you just have to fire up so you can play Overwatch. It's fine for what it is, it just never feels like it's bringing much to the party .   

Blizzard may soon be aiming to change that, however, as MMO-Champion has published what it says is a series of "group strings," icons, and avatars that it discovered in a recent update of the client. One of the features referenced in the list is an option to appear offline, something users have been after for years. Group and channel features also figure prominently, suggesting that Blizzard may be aiming for a Discord-like environment. 

"Groups are the social hub for you and your friends across Blizzard," one set of strings states. "Use groups to coordinate play time, discuss strats, or just hang out and chat. They're also a great way to expand your circle of Blizzard friends." 

All of which guarantees absolutely nothing, but it's interesting that the discovery comes just a few days after Blizzard rolled out a mobile app, and less than two months after it re-embraced the name. The timing may be entirely coincidental, but it's not hard to get the impression that somewhere, somehow, things are happening. I've reached out to Blizzard for more information, and will update if and when I receive a reply. 

Thanks, VG247.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.