Blizzard Entertainment will no longer be supporting their games, including World Of Warcraft, Starcraft II, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and Diablo III, on Windows XP or Windows Vista. According to a report from PC Gamer, as Microsoft has ceased support for both versions of Windows (the last XP update was almost three years ago,) Blizzard intends to cut support for their games from the old operating systems completely.
And according to Blizzard community manager Ornyx, that doesn’t just mean that they’ll no longer be providing tech support for Vista and XP users.
“The vast majority of our audience has upgraded to [Windows 7, 8, or 10]. After these older operating systems are no longer supported, the games will not run on them.”
Blizzard says that they intend to roll out the changes sometime later this year, but were not specific as to when the changes were coming; Ornyx said that the change would be rolling out on a “staggered schedule” to allow people who don’t adapt early to get used to the idea that the change is coming for all Blizzard games. He also said that Blizzard will provide players with further notice as they get closer to implementation day.
“We encourage any players who are still using one of the older OSes to upgrade to a newer version.”
It might come as a surprise to some that anybody is still using the venerable Windows XP in 2017. First released over 15 years ago in 2001, Microsoft officially cut support for the OS, their most popular ever, in 2009. According to TechRadar, it was still the third-most-popular OS in April of last year, although Windows 7 still held the top spot with over 50 percent of PCs. Meanwhile, according to the Steam Hardware and Software Survey, 1.24 percent of their users are still running on Windows XP 32-bit, and that’s well over a million people.
Windows Vista 32-bit and 64-bit combined, the supposed successor to Windows XP, account for 0.16 percent of Steam users.
In spite of all this, some Blizzard players aren’t too happy about the upcoming change. One user lamented, “the second WoW stops working on Vista is the second I’m done with WoW, I guess. Don’t have the money to upgrade my system to support 7+.”
“One reason I love wow is I can play it on a toaster.”
Others were more optimistic.
“If you’re still running XP or Vista, you’re not running an OS you’re running a security risk,” said forum member Elysse.
“As a dev who must still support XP, I applaud this move. Burn that rickety infrastructure to the ground,” added Illexia.
But it was user Tiapriestess who had perhaps the most compelling question.
“Ornyx, can you ask the engineers if this also means the end of 32-bit OS support? That has been what is holding back proper updating of the game engines the most.”
They’re not wrong; if nothing else, having to develop code which will run on two architectures is exhausting — and having to develop games which will never use more than 4 GB of RAM costs developers a huge amount in terms of what they can do. Of course, that’s one of the problems which inevitably faces a company which keeps a game running and popular through multiple OS releases, and World Of Warcraft was released in 2004, at the height of XP’s popularity. Vista would be released three years later, to something less than praise, turning many fans off of the idea of ever upgrading Windows again.
Meanwhile, like it or not, Blizzard intends to cut their games’ ability to run on Windows XP and Vista by the end of the year. Blizzard fans who want to keep playing their favorite games will need to look into upgrading their operating system, if they haven’t already done so.
[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]