It’s a sequel over ten years in the making. In 1998, Blizzard Entertainment launched the blockbuster real-time strategy game, StarCraft, and come July 27, the long wait for its successor will be over. However, before its debut, Blizzard has a few more surprises including today’s announcement that the upcoming StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, and by extension, Battle.net will be getting Facebook integration.
For those that have been in caves for the greater part of two decades — or at least not doing any serious gaming –Battle.net is Blizzard’s free online service that allows users of their various online games to connect and play. Originally a means to merely host games for the original Diablo, the network has undergone significant transformations in the social form by showing the world its coming overhaul, “always-connected experience,” and cross-game community mechanics back in February. Heck, such social elements were even hinted at way back in September of last year.
But all these previews and hints were tailored toward an internal network between Blizzard players. With the coming Facebook integration, players of StarCraft II will be able to post directly to their news feeds, letting all their friends know when they’re online and when they just “pwnd some noobs” with the Zerg. Of course, considering the World of Warcraft Armory Facebook application that lets you do similar, if not the same thing now, this is extension isn’t that surprising.
The integration will also allow StarCraft II players to easily add their Facebook friends to their Battle.net friends lists as well. But to one up even that, according to Paul Sams, Chief Operating Officer at Blizzard, this new integration will extend to future Blizzard games as well. Facebook updates for Cataclysm anyone?
It’s impossible to deny that social gaming and social features are spreading throughout the mainstream games industry like wildfire. Already we have seen them spread throughout Microsoft’s Xbox Live, countless Electronic Arts titles (and not just the Playfish ones), Ubisoft, Sony Online Entertainment, and now Activision-Blizzard (though, for the record, they have also been dabbling for some time). Those 400 million-plus Facebook users are starting to add up.