March 24 was a day tinged with sadness, for it was the day that Battle.net died, brought low by Blizzard's decision to move to the more innocuous-sounding "Blizzard App" or sometimes "Blizzard Launcher." So it caused a little confusion around these parts when, during the Destiny 2 reveal event yesterday, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime referred to the service as "Battle.net." So too does the announcement at blizzard.com—five separate times, no less.
"Being on Battle.net will allow Destiny 2 to plug in to our existing global network, freeing up the developers at Bungie to focus their energy and resources on making the best and most fun game they possibly can. This also means Destiny 2 players will have access to our online social functionality, including chat with friends, the ability to see which of their friends are online in Destiny 2 or in Blizzard games, and the ability to stream gameplay directly to Facebook," it says. "Stay tuned for updates as we get closer to welcoming Destiny 2 and its players to Battle.net."
I thought at first that Blizzard had realized that Battle.net is a great name and trying to change it (especially after all these years) was a bad idea, and had thus decided to simply pretend that the whole "Blizzard App" thing never happened. Sadly, that's not the case. “It's still Blizzard Launcher,” a Blizzard rep told Polygon. “We made an exception for this announcement.”
On one level, it's all kind of silly, but it does illustrate the tough spot Blizzard is in. It obviously wants to rebrand Battle.net into something more universal sounding, but it's up against two solid decades of history: Battle.net has been around, with that name, since 1996. There's also apparent confusion about what it's actually supposed to be called: The Blizzard rep said it's the Launcher, it's called "Blizzard App" in Windows 10, but still appears as Battle.net in the start menu. That's not even taking into account the fact that "Battle.net" is just cooler and easier to say. And if the company CEO won't use the new name at one of the highest-profile gaming events of the year, how likely is it that anyone else will in casual conversation?
I said when the change took place that I was going to keep referring to the platform as Battle.net, "for now." But I'm starting to think that, Blizzard's protests aside, I'm going to be able to stick with it forever. Vive la Battle.net!