Most of the feedback I gave over an year ago while the desktop app was still in beta are still valid for the current version. I’ll copy here the most relevant part for this topic:
I would really like to have the option to completely disable anything unrelated to installing, updating, repairing. uninstalling or launching a game. I’d like to disable the following features:
- News - For any game there is their main website (why not just leave another link near the forum ?)
- Promotions - Blizzard store already have a nice interface for that and if I want I can subscribe to receive newsletter by email
- E-sports related content - Personal preference. I don’t care for watching a bunch of other people playing, I prefer to play the game myself
I still find it very annoying and even an intrusion of my privacy and personal preferences being forced to have all of those features.
As a software developer I believe it would be really easy to implement a simple switch to disable such features, this leads me to believe there is no intention on Blizzard side to give us that option. That said…
My device, my rules
I decided not to wait for a Blizzard to give us that option, instead I tested a simple but effective solution.
If you want to block all of those features, simply add a new rule on your firewall and deny ports 80 and 443 (HTTP and HTTPS) only for Battle.net.exe.
So far I had no problems updating, launching or installing any game but the whole middle section of the launcher is gone, only showing a message that the content is unavailable. The only unwanted side effect I could see is avatars not showing up for the friend list.
Reverting this is as simple as removing the firewall rule.
Since this solution does not modify the desktop app and only make changes on the user’s device I’m pretty sure it does not violate any agreement, at least I couldn’t find anything in the ToS, in any case use at your own risk.