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A review by Michael

The Blizzard Desktop App (also known as the app and the Launcher) is Blizzard’s official game launcher, which allows players to download and play Blizzard classic and modern games. The client was released as an open beta August 2013 and includes many features, including downloading games, patching games, multiplayer matchmaking, friends list and messaging. Since 2016, Blizzard Voice is also integrated into the Blizzard Desktop App.

History was initiated with the release of Diablo in 1996, and allowed players to chat together and join multiplayer games. This version of is known as “ Classic”. Players would connect directly to each other, meaning no data of interactions or gameplay would be sent to Blizzard servers – this localization of the connections led to a lot of in-game cheating which was a significant issue for gamers. The popularity of Classic surged around the time Starcraft was released, with tens of thousands of players online at the same time in the USA and South Korea. Blizzard was able to copyright protect Starcraft by only allowing users with a valid CD key to access Classic servers. This was to be used in future Blizzard games until the present day. 2.0 was released in 2009, and allowed users to login to multiple accounts through the client, integrated World of Warcraft friends lists and characters, as well as introduced an “achievements” system.

Anonymous matchmaking

The Blizzard Desktop App allows users to play against any other user in the world simply with click of a button. Often, users are connected to each other based on ranking (the ladder system). The first game to use this system was Warcraft III, where users would be matched against other players online. This was obviously a very popular feature and remains a major feature of the Desktop App to this day.

Not just for Blizzard games

While it’s true that the Blizzard Desktop App is mainly used for the distribution of Blizzard games, Blizzard has partnered with other companies (including Activision) to distribute titles made by other developers. For example, Destiny 2 was released onto the Blizzard platform in 2017. However, Blizzard is not willing to open their client to other 3rd party titles fearing the quality of games offered on the Blizzard App could go down. However, it remains a viable competitor to other platforms such as Steam, Origin and the Epic Games Launcher.

Blizzard Entertainment
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Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10