While it’s clear the release of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft on PC was always the main priority for developers Blizzard, its excellent iPad version has only served to stoke the fires for fans waiting for a wider mobile release.
Now, Blizzard has confirmed that they’ll have to wait a while longer, stating on their blog that that Hearthstone for Android Devices and the iPhone won’t be released until 2015. Of course, that could mean another two months or another twelve — the launch of the game on iPad was also preceded by the same sense of uncertainty.
Over the course of 2014, Hearthstone has moved from open beta to a full PC release, been ported to iPad and even released its first expansion — but for many fans, making it available on Android devices and iPhone should have taken precedence. The length of an average game makes it an ideal portable experience, not to mention a touch interface being much better suited to manipulating cards than a mouse.
However, it would seem that the problem comes down to screen space. It’s important for players to be able to have a broad view of what’s going on in their hand and on the board at all times, which is quite a lot to ask from the average screen size of a smartphone.
There’s also the problem of cross-platform multiplayer. Hearthstone has a playerbase of 20 million across iPad and PC, and Blizzard will no doubt be looking to introduce users on newly supported devices into the group, rather than splinter them off into another pool. An iPhone version would probably benefit from the iPad already being supported, but the Android port might take more tweaking.
Decisions as to where manpower should be spent has been a common theme to the development of Hearthstone for some time. Some players want new cards, some player want more single player content like ‘Curse of Naxxramas’ and some just want to play the game on their Samsung Galaxy.
Blizzard clearly has no easy task in putting all this together, but it has to be said that the company doing an admirable job of building Hearthstone into something far-reaching and — all-importantly — a lot of fun. It might not make waiting for iPhone and Android versions any easier, but it’s certainly worth considering just how good the iPad version of game is. If this extra time is contributing to similarly strong ports for other devices, then it’s certainly time well spent.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is available now for PC and iPad. An iPhone and Android release will release in 2015.