Blizzard has been having internal discussions on the possibility of licensing their Battle.net service to third parties, VP of Game Design Rob Pardo said at a GDC panel last week. The thing that’s stopped them from going ahead and actually doing it, he says, is the level of support, or the lack thereof, they can realistically offer.
“It’s something that we’ve definitely always talked about,” he said. “The problem for us is that it takes a lot of work from our other teams. Every time we have the discussion, we try to figure out what’s going to happen if let’s say a Blizzard game was coming out and a third party game was coming out at the same time. Could we be agnostic in that way? Could we offer the same level of support that we offer our games to third parties? We just never know. It just seems like a big job for us.”
Pardo did say that StarCraft II‘s upcoming Map Marketplace allows them to essentially test the waters however, “I think that will be a really good test-bed for us to see how much support we have to give to mapmakers and how well we can do something like that.”