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Blizzard cites piracy as one of the reasons to nix LAN support

With the upcoming release of Valve's Left 4 Dead 2 still causing some gamers to froth at the mouth, the latest announcement from another of gaming's darling developers Blizzard is sure to cause a fresh batch to bubble forth. After enduring the ire of loyal fans by splitting the sequel into a trilogy, Blizzard dropped the second proverbial Terran Nuke when it announced StarCraft II will not support LAN play, with multiplayer being exclusive to Blizzard's updated Battle.net service.

"We don't have any plans to support LAN," VP of game design Rob Pardo told IncGamers in an interview Sunday. This was later confirmed with a statement from Blizzard PR rep Bob Colayco:

We don’t currently plan to support LAN play with StarCraft II, as we are building Battle.net to be the ideal destination for multiplayer gaming with StarCraft II and future Blizzard Entertainment games. While this was a difficult decision for us, we felt that moving away from LAN play and directing players to our upgraded Battle.net service was the best option to ensure a quality multiplayer experience with StarCraft II and safeguard against piracy.

Several Battle.net features like advanced communication options, achievements, stat-tracking, and more, require players to be connected to the service, so we’re encouraging everyone to use Battle.net as much as possible to get the most out of StarCraft II. We’re looking forward to sharing more details about Battle.net and online functionality for StarCraft II in the near future.

Users of pirated copies of games will often utilize LAN-over-VPN programs or services, such as Hamachi, in order to form ad-hoc gaming communities. By removing the ability for LAN play, Blizzard hopes to nip this in the bud and bring more gamers to their revamped Battle.net service.

Thankfully, the rumors about Battle.net becoming a paid service are untrue for the moment; at least if you live in North America or the European Union. Pardo hinted that due to Asia being "a little different how they do things" some features might require microtransactions, similar to the ability to pay additional money to transfer servers in World of Warcraft.

StarCraft II is currently scheduled for a late-2009 release; as long as "it is ready."





"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes







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