While there probably aren't many people still using Windows XP and Vista to play Blizzard's games, those who are will need to upgrade their OS to at least Windows 7 if they want to continue doing so after this year. Blizzard announced on its forums that it's discontinuing support for the two operating systems in World of Warcraft, StarCraft 2, Diablo 3, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm.
"Starting later this year, we will begin the process of ending support for Windows XP and Windows Vista in World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm," community manager Ornyx wrote.
Microsoft dropped support for Windows XP and Vista in 2009 and 2012 respectively, but Ornyx says that because "a decent portion" of its player base was still playing games on them, Blizzard's support continued. However, Ornyx pointed out that a "vast majority" of Blizzard's audience has now upgraded to either Windows 7, 8, or 10, so support will now cease.
What this means for XP and Vista users is simple: upgrade your OS or stop playing Blizzard's most popular games.
"After these older operating systems are no longer supported, the games will not run on them, so we encourage any players who are still using one of the older OSes to upgrade to a newer version," Ornyx said.
This will happen on a "staggered schedule," so not all games will be affected at the same time. Ornyx said that Blizzard will post further notices as it gets closer to discontinuing support for each game. We'll keep you updated as those are posted.
It's commendable that Blizzard supported these operating systems for this long, but it's hard to imagine many users are upset by this news. However, I still feel bad for any who are. I know how games like World of Warcraft and Hearthstone can be quite popular with an older crowd who opt for the most comfortable, familiar way to do things, and that may be XP or Vista to them. Hopefully it's easy for them to make the upgrade and continue enjoying Blizzard's games.