Blizzard announced today that the company is beginning the rollout of Battle.net 2.0, an update that will overhaul the client to make some dramatic improvements to its presentation and accessibility. Battle.net is the long-running digital platform Blizzard first established in 1996 to help support Diablo, and the popularity of the service saw it installed as the basis of future Blizzard games, eventually leading to the Battle.net 2.0 service that has been running in one form or another since 2009.
Battle.net is perhaps most familiar to modern players in its Blizzard Battle.net form, an application that serves as a launcher for the developer’s games as well as a hub for its many online services. The app has increasingly become a crucial element in the Blizzard gaming experience, serving as the go-to for fans of titles like World of Warcraft and Overwatch and integrating features like friends lists into the service. Blizzard has been running a beta test on a hefty update that will overhaul Battle.net’s front-end, and now it appears the company is confident in the direction this upgrade is heading.
Blizzard announced in an official blog post today that Battle.net 2.0’s update is going live in some select regions, with the rollout beginning in “parts of North America” to help make sure its stable before it is then integrated into other regions across the world in the coming weeks. Blizzard also detailed what the Battle.net update entails, outlining what the developer feels are the key points that will be improved in the upgrade. This includes improved navigation, which allows fans to arrange their games to make them easier to access, and a revamped social pane that makes friends lists easier to see.
Other updates include what Blizzard is calling a “more expansive layout” for news when its in full-page view and the addition of “major accessibility improvements.” The latter will allow fans to use most of the app’s functions with only the keyboard, while the app will also have better color contrast and screen reader support. Finally, the app will also have a notification hub that consolidates download statuses and messages in one convenient place, making information easier to find.
Battle.net has been around for decades at this point, but Blizzard has continued to find ways not just to make it relevant, but to make it central to the games services its offering. The latest Battle.net update should make the app a lot more palatable to fans who are stuck with it either way, and while even more social integration and options for more customizable layouts remain requests, some of these changes – especially those improving video game accessibility in any facet of the industry – should rightfully come first. If the Battle.net upgrade rollout goes smoothly in North America, fans can expect the update to go live in other regions quickly, as it’s definitely a better look for the service overall and not one Blizzard has any reason to slowroll in any specific location.
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