It was supposed to be a meme. Blizzard’s quip at BlizzCon 2018 where one of the developers said “Do you guys not have phones?” was mocked and laughed at because it was a bad joke made in bad taste that undermined the broader topic about Blizzard abandoning the hardcore PC market to chase after casuals in the mobile space. Well, apparently it wasn’t just ajoke for Blizzard because they’re going to require everyone attending BlizzCon this year to have a mobile phone. Seriously.
The news posted up over on the official BlizzCon website. In section 5 it clearly states you’ll need the AXS mobile app in order to get into the show.
If the image doesn’t load for you, it says…
“To pick up your badge at registration this year, you’ll need to download the AXS Mobile App. The app displays a QR code (one code for all of your tickets), which changes at regular intervals to help guard against dupes and fraud. Because of that, we won’t be able to accept paper tickets, confirmation emails, or screenshots/photos of the QR code at BlizzCon registration.”
This managed to get quite a lot of negative feedback over on the /r/WoW/ sub-reddit, where a lot of people peppered Blizzard with insults for requiring them to have a mobile phone just to attend the event.
A Blizzard representative did chime in on the thread to reiterate that if you can’t access the app, talk to someone at the Solutions Desk during registration.
But wait… it gets worse.
User DeathKoil had a lengthy comment explaining that the AXS app is basically spyware.
“ I did some searching around and found numerous articles about what the app takes, and who it sends it to. In short, the most thorough write-up I found in about 30 minutes of searching states that the app scrapes of ton of data from your phone, including your first and last name, precise location (as determined by GPS, WiFi, and other means), how often the app is used, what content is viewed using the app, which ads are clicked, what purchases are made (and not made), a user’s personal advertising identifier, IP address, operating system, device make and model, billing address, credit card number, security code, mailing address, phone number, and email address. It doesn’t say that it also takes your contacts but it would be trivial to do so. AXS’s privacy statement says that they share/sell the information with a LOT of other companies (more details in the article I linked).”
The article he’s referencing is found over on The Outline, which published a piece back on July 31st, 2018 titled “Ticketing app AXS scrapes everything it can get from your phone”
They explained in the article…
“It looks kind of like an authenticator app, only with barcodes rather than strings of numbers. The only way to use the ticket is to pull it up in-app while at the venue, which seems innocuous enough, so, of course, I downloaded it. I was already 85 bucks in the hole, and wasn’t about to throw that away over the two minutes it would take to install some stupid app. But I probably should have. Though the app was technically free, I ended up paying with the wealth of personal data it scraped from me and sent to who knows.”
So why did Blizzard choose to use the AXS app for this year’s BlizzCon? Well, we don’t know. They didn’t say.
Of course, I did reach out to Blizzard’s PR department to ask about their mandatory usage of the AXS app for BlizzCon registration, but since it’s the weekend we likely won’t be able to expect any responses until Monday.
Either way, it looks like Blizzard took their meme a little too seriously after gamers recoiled at the notion of a mobile-focused Diablo: Immortal and now they’re making everyone pay for not getting on board with the idea.
(Thanks for the news tip Red)