PC gaming is much less complex than it once was, as developers have come to realize that clear, concise system requirements remove a technical barrier that might limit their overall audience. However, not every game will run on every PC, for various different reasons — and now Blizzard has detailed a far-reaching change to its hardware support that affects two versions of Windows that are still relatively popular.
This week, Blizzard reiterated its plans to drop support for Windows XP and Windows Vista from October 2017. That means that games like World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Diablo 3 won’t be playable on systems running those operating systems from that time onward.
It’s worth noting that Microsoft officially ended its support for XP and Vista several years ago. At that time, Blizzard considered doing the same, but decided that a large enough proportion of its audience still used these OSes to justify continuing its support. Now, it seems that most have moved on to more modern versions of Windows, Windows 10 in particular.
As such, the changeover primarily affects older games that were initially released while XP and Vista were more popular. Overwatch, which launched last year, never supported either OS because they were already considered outdated at that time.
It makes a lot of sense for Blizzard to discontinue its support for these ageing OSes. While there are still plenty of holdouts who prefer to use older versions of Windows, the fact is that continuing to maintain compatibility with them diverts resources away from current platforms, not to mention the security concerns associated with an OS that is no longer backed by its creator.
When Starcraft Remastered launches later this year, it’ll replicate the experience of playing the original in many ways — just don’t expect to play it on the version of Windows you were using last time you booted up the game.