We all know what a Facebook login on a social game means—spamming your friends with requests to play in return for “energy” or some other feature allowing you to keep on playing. Blizzard’s new strategy is almost, but not quite, that bad.
Facebook and Blizzard said Monday that it will begin adding Facebook logins to games such as Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Diablo III, StarCraft II, and Heroes of the Storm beginning later this month.
“Adding Facebook Login will pave the way for new social functionality in Blizzard games while highlighting Facebook’s capabilities as a platform for sharing, viewing, and discussing AAA game content,” the two companies said in a statement.
Why this matters: Both Blizzard and Facebook are obviously trying to tap into the demand for Twitch and YouTube, both platforms that are trying to establish themselves as the venues not to play games, but to sit back and watch others play them, just as spectators watch football or basketball. The sneaky thing, of course, is that by literally hooking Blizzard with its Facebook Login technology, Facebook entices users to house those streams, and the resulting discussions, on Facebook.
Move over, Twitch
Facebook has one advantage: While Twitch offers hundreds of games and livestreamers to follow, the site wasn’t originally set up to follow a particular game or stream. Blizzard and Facebook plan to allow gamers to livestream to their timelines, and notify friends (or followers) when they’re online and broadcasting. Facebook said 650 million people already play games that are connected to Facebook, and Blizzard’s lineup would add potentially millions more.
Facebook and Blizzard already worked together on a joint Instagram/Facebook campaign to launch the game, so the partnership had already been established.
But here’s the thing—we already have to sign into services like Origin or EA or Ubisoft to log in to games like Far Cry 3 or the Assassins’ Creed games. Now we have to log into Facebook as well? Does that mean we’re going to automatically “like” Blizzard and any and all content that it’s affiliated with? Will we be plagued with picture memes and GIFs? Don’t we play video games to get away from all this?!