Blizzard Entertainment continues to stir up controversy this week as some players claim that the company is blocking efforts to permanently delete their accounts. Blizzard has been the subject of much unwanted attention this week following its ban of Ng Wai Chung, better known by his Hearthstone esports handle as Blitzchung, for making a political statement in an interview following a competitive match.
The behavior has widely been criticized on all fronts, ranging from players to American Senators, and longtime consumers of Blizzard games are deleting their accounts permanently to demonstrate their feelings on the behavior shown by the company. Some users began to point out that Blizzard moved preemptively to disable the four authentication methods needed to formally delete an account, but this appears not to be true after some additional inquiry.
Happening to me too after the very first “attempt.” Unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/pa9uTVp7DB— Bri (@inkpetal) October 9, 2019
First the distinction should be made between unsubscribing from certain services and trying to delete an account. Unsubscribing from a game like World of Warcraft, which has a month fee to access, can still be done as one normally does, but deleting an account is a more involved process. The user above has pointed out that she had her SMS authentication method blocked after a single use and was told to contact Blizzard directly.
While this may be frustrating, it is not uncommon for a company to add layers of security and additional confirmation of identity when deleting account. This is because deleting an account relinquishes ownership of licenses, and presumably cannot be undone. If done inadvertently, or maliciously as the target of a hack, the consumer can be in for a frustrating experience.
This Reddit comment states that Blizzard may be asking for photo identification, which is also not an uncommon request, particularly when one has been hacked and needs to regain control of an account.
Blizzard's policy is quite clear on this, it states: "Hackers often use personal details to gain access to your account. We require government-issued ID to make sure we’re talking to the legitimate account holder before we make certain changes."
With that in mind, VICE tested the process and was able to delete an account without and obstacles outside of the normal guidelines set by Blizzard:
VICE tested this and could delete an account without issue. Furthermore, an update from the person who sent this viral tweet: “I have now subsequently been able to delete my account over an hour later. At the time I originally tweeted, me and many others could not delete them.” https://t.co/K8HejL5Q8F— Patrick Klepek (@patrickklepek) October 10, 2019
While Blizzard has certainly engaged in questionable behavior that will haunt it for the foreseeable future, they do not seem to be actively blocking users from deleting their accounts if they so choose. Players simply need to go through a more involved process to do so because the ramifications of deleting an account are permanent, but these steps are not outside of the normal processes employed by the company.
This is an important distinction to make, and everyone should take the time to ensure that they do not spread misinformation about Blizzard as it could lessen the impact of the facts of their behavior. The company done enough to answer for in the coming weeks, and misinformation would only dilute the situation away from the main issues.