Blizzard ends support for Windows XP and Vista
Blizzard was still supporting XP and Vista installs for WoW and StarCraft 2.
If you took all the remaining Windows XP and Vista users in the world—a surprisingly robust 10 percent—and placed them in a Venn diagram with those that play Blizzard games, the intersection would likely be very, very small.
And yet, despite Microsoft ending mainstream support for XP and Vista in 2009 and 2012 (Windows XP limped on with security updates until 2014), Blizzard has continued to supportWorld of Warcraft, StarCraft 2, Diablo 3, Hearthstone, and even Heroes of the Storm under the decrepit operating systems.
Or, at least it did. Beginning “later this year,” Blizzard will sunset support for those games under XP and Vista. The change will be rolled out on a “staggered schedule,” with Blizzard promising to post individual notices for each game. The games will refuse to run on an unsupported operating system once support ends.
“Microsoft ceased mainstream support for these versions of Windows in 2009 and 2012, respectively,” reads a Blizzard blog post on the matter, “but since a decent portion of our audience was still using them at the time, we continued supporting them. However, there have been three major Windows releases since Vista, and at this point, the vast majority of our audience has upgraded to one of the newer versions.”
The end of XP and Vista support is likely linked to the online requirement for each of the games, which is accessed via a launcher in the OS. Technically, StarCraft 2 and Diablo 3 do have single-player modes, but require an online connection in order to function.
While few Vista and XP users in the west will be stung by Blizzard’s decision, a significant number of gamers in China will be affected. The country’s Internet cafes famously relied upon Windows XP, or pirated and customised versions thereof, for over 15 years. Government-run Chinese institutions also made extensive use of Windows XP and weren’t keen on upgrading or paying for extended support.
Such is the ubiquity of Windows XP in China that the government partnered with Canonical to create Ubuntu Kylin, an OS that looks near identical to XP.