World of Warcraft, Diablo 3, and StarCraft II will soon be launched using a customizable desktop client that is reminiscent of Steam.
With nearly two decades of game development experience under their belts, Blizzard has had a lot of time to perfect the art of design, and gain an understanding of how best to connect players to the games they've spent so much time developing. In this case, the best idea may be an idea that's already been around for quite a while. Early this morning, the Blizzard support site released information on the Battle.net desktop app, which is an interface that connects players to Blizzard games, and allows them to chat, shop, and see the latest Blizzard news. Although the launcher is has not even been officially previewed yet, the (granted un-finalized) interface of the desktop app appears to be customizable, and offers a new place for Blizzard to connect with their customers. Blizzard has had a history of success with giving their players all kinds of in and out of game customization options, including a recent 50% off sale on all character customization within the EU.
Testing is only available for Windows currently, but Mac users fear not; Blizzard wouldn't launch a service that only half their users could activate, and there is still plenty of development time before this launcher sees an official release. The desktop app features a high level of customization, including backgrounds, avatars, and launcher skins. The app provides a news page with customizable tabs, an out-of-game chat system, forum access, and game updates, replacing the current launcher that Blizzard games use.
The desktop app will help players connect to the Blizzard community, and offering their customers yet another place to customize their gaming experience is going to be a popular decision among many. The desktop app looks somewhat similar to Steam, which is far from a bad decision by the Blizzard design staff. The launcher currently has no estimated release date, but with more and more content being leaked and released around its creation, it won't be long before Blizzard finds another way to worm back into my heart.
Source: MMO Champion