Side Effects

If you read Tobold’s blog you would have seen a post a few days ago where he lamented the loss of his Facebook account. It’s in Facebook’s terms of service that the name you use must be ‘real.’ And by real, I guess that means the one on your birth certificate.

(I wonder when Stephen King will have his account banned.)

Today, Tobold posts about one of the consequences of that banning. He used Facebook Connect to add some social functionality to Castle Empires Online (aka The Settlers Online.) This linked the game to his Facebook account via an app, and now he cannot access that game until he removes the app. Of course he cannot remove the app because he can’t log in to that Facebook account.

No Castle Empires Online for you. Catch 22. That’s some catch, that Catch 22. It’s the best there is.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve recently noticed a number of blogs sporting a comment section that is basically a Facebook widget that requires a guest to login to their Facebook account in order to comment.

Aside from the questionable practice of forcing someone who may not want to have a FB account to have one to comment, or to have every comment they make replicated in their FB feed, the bigger issue to me is the loss of control the blog owner is giving to Facebook. No longer does the blog own the comments, they are now Facebook property. And if Facebook decides for one reason or another to ban that blog, well, what happens to all those comments?

This Tobold Facebook banning has brought another issue to mind.

Blizzard now has a policy of linking their various games together in the same account. Your World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2, and soon Diablo 3 games will all be linked together, if you use the same Battlenet account.

Now what happens if in one of those games you do something against the terms of service and get yourself an account ban. Do you lose access to every Blizzard game linked to that account?

And hey, it might not even be you doing the dirty deed. Account hacks are not unknown, and folks have been banned temporarily on that basis. So your WoW account is hacked, and Blizzard shuts you down for two weeks while it investigates. And during this time you don’t have access to SG2, or D3 to fill the gaming gap. Nice.

That’s why it’s been my policy for some time to not do things like use Facebook Connect. If a game offers an update service such as tweeting achievements, fine. You can turn those off in game. But a game should never be disabled by the failure of an optional third party service. That is unacceptable.

This is also why I create a separate Battlenet account for each of my Blizzard games. I have used different emails for both WoW and SC2, and I’ll be creating a new email address for Diablo 3 when I buy that.

The world is rushing headlong towards a completely connected state where everything is linked. Don’t get me wrong, this can be very useful and save time by simplifying online life, but the problem here is if one link fails, does it bring down the rest?

Is anyone considering the side effects, or building in redundancy?

2 Comments

  1. Green Armadillo

    EA’s new system has the same concern. There was some hack in an FPS that somehow caused private exploit servers to appear in the list of available matches, and they were threatening bans that would kick players out of all EA games (including the unreleased SWTOR).

    Reply
  2. DM Osbon

    Recently deactivated myself from FB. Not for the reasons you mention, although they are connected. Plain & simple I just don’t like how much people are willing to give away of themselves on FB. it’s becoming very cheap and I had found myself avoiding it anyway.

    Too much power over people’s intentions.

    Reply

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