Even the largest of PC developers can't support every operating system under the sun forever. Despite Blizzard's reputation for taking good care of the low-end, it too has to cut the cord at some point. And so, 2017 marks the company's move away from Windows XP and Vista; over the course of the year, it'll gradually drop support for Diablo 3, StarCraft 2 and other titles.
Windows XP came out in 2001 and Vista in 2006, making them 16 and 11 years old respectively (give or take a few months). Microsoft no longer supports XP in any capacity, beyond a few exceptions in the enterprise world and Vista leaves its extended support phase in April this year.
Blizzard wasn't really able to follow Microsoft's lead immediately — us gamers are a stubborn lot when it comes to migrating OSes, a fact the developer is well aware of:
...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.
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. We’ll be rolling out this change on a staggered schedule, and will post further notices as we get closer to making the change for each game.
Emphasis mine. Usually when this withdrawal of support happens, it just means you can't hit the developer up for help when things go wrong. It looks like once the transition occurs, the games won't even start on the older platforms, perhaps via a software-based check patched into the executable.
Here's the full list of affected titles:
- World of Warcraft
- StarCraft 2
- Diablo 3
- Heroes of the Storm
Valve's most recent Steam survey supports Blizzard's decision, with less than 1.5 per cent of users using any combination of these operating systems. XP makes up the bulk of this at 1.24 per cent.
If you're included in this number, now might be a good time to upgrade.
ENDING SUPPORT FOR WINDOWS XP AND VISTA [Blizzard]