Blizzard Putting Kibosh On Windows XP And Windows Vista Support Later This Year

Blizzard will soon be turning a cold shoulder to users who are still running Windows Vista or Windows XP. Starting sometime later this year, Blizzard said it begin the process of ending support for both legacy operating systems in several of its popular games, including World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo II, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm. They're just too old for Blizzard to continue supporting.

"Microsoft ceased mainstream support for these versions of Windows in 2009 and 2012, respective, 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," Blizzard said.

Windows XP

Once support ends, the aforementioned games will no longer run on Windows Vista or Windows XP. Blizzard did not say exactly when this will all take place, mentioning only that it will occur on a "staggered schedule" with further notices to come as it gets closer to cutting off support.

It would have been interesting if Blizzard shared internal data on how many gamers it anticipates being affected by this. According to data provided by Net Applications, Windows XP is clinging to a 9.17 percent share of the worldwide desktop market. Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 combine for another 8.52 percent, while Windows Vista barely registers a blip on the radar at 0.84 percent. All tallied, 18.53 of all PCs in the wild run one of the legacy OSes that will no longer be supported by Blizzard.

The breakdown among gamers might be different. According to Steam's hardware and software survey, nearly half of its users have upgraded to Windows 10. In stark contrast to that, only about 1 in 10 users (less than 11 percent) run one of the affected OSes.