Blizzard Entertainment has announced that they will discontinue their support for Windows XP and Windows Vista this year. The discontinuation will affect five games of the company’s current roster of active games. Specifically affecting the games: World of Warcraft, StarCraft 2, Diablo 3, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm.
To be frank: considering the age of these operating systems, this change is a long time coming, as almost all other publishers and developers abandoned their support for the two platforms quite some time ago.
According to Steam’s Hardware Survey, 1.24% of Steam users are still using the sixteen-year-old operating system – Windows XP. Meanwhile, users of 2009’s Windows Vista contribute to a measly 0.17% of the total Steam userbase. Although Blizzard’s user data may differ from Valve’s, we can expect Windows XP and Vista users to be extremely low.
Microsoft themselves stopped the mainstream support of Windows XP in 2009, followed by Windows Vista’s end of support in 2012. The fact that Microsoft has ceased providing security updates to Windows XP, along with Vista’s security updates due to end in April this year, further justifies Blizzard’s decision.
Why the change
Blizzard says that they supported these two operating systems despite their age because while Mircosoft had ended mainstream support for them, there were still many players playing Blizzard games on the two operating systems. Since then, many of those players have migrated to newer operating systems, leading to the company’s decision of ending that long-standing support.
The fan response to the decision has been positive but with some outliers concerned about needing to upgrade their machines. Although a newer game like Heroes of the Storm won’t have many users on old operating systems; World of Warcraft, for instance, is thirteen years old, and pretty much runs on any computer.
For those who still use Windows XP or Vista, they still have time to upgrade to a newer operating system. Blizzard will start rolling out the changes this year on a staggered schedule, giving ample time for users to upgrade.