Blizzard games get Facebook extras

Starcraft II screenshot, Blizzard Starcraft II is all about building bases and conquering opponents

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World of Warcraft maker Blizzard is aiming to make its games more social by integrating them with Facebook.

The merging will involve Blizzard's Battle.net online gaming service which many use to stay in touch with friends they play with or against.

The long-awaited Starcraft II will be the first Blizzard game to have the Facebook features built-in.

Players of the Starcraft II beta will be able to add people they play against on Battle.net as friends on Facebook.

Play and display

The beta of Starcraft II introduce many social features that let players interact with the people they take on and play. It lets them talk via text or voice chat and also lets them share video and statistics about how they fared in multiplayer games.

Blizzard said the Facebook friending add-on will be added to the Starcraft II beta soon. It added that other features would follow but gave no details about what they might be.

The Facebook features would be part of the finished Starcraft II when it goes on sale on 17 July. Blizzard said the Facebook integration would be a standard part of future games but players would have to opt-in to use it. Upcoming from Blizzard is Diablo III and the Cataclysm expansion for World of Warcraft (WoW).

Players will get at the social elements of the games via the free Battle.net gaming service. This started as a way for people to play multiplayer games of Diablo but has become Blizzard's preferred way for its customers to manage games such as WoW, Diablo and Starcraft.

Since late 2009, Blizzard has been telling WoW players swap their game specific login for a Battle.net ID. It offered free in-game pets to those that made the swap early.

Blizzard already offers some Facebook extras for WoW. It has released an armoury application that pipes information about the characters a player has in WoW to their Facebook profile.

PC-only game Starcraft II is a sequel to a hugely-popular title that debuted in 1998. Starcraft is a real-time strategy game in which players assume control of one faction - humans, alien protoss and insectile zerg - and then try to gather resources to create an all-conquering army.

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