If you’re still creaking along on Windows XP or Windows Vista, watch out. Blizzard has just announced it’s going to completely halt support for these older operating systems from October onwards. Affected games will include World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm.
“Microsoft ceased mainstream support for these versions of Windows in 2009 and 2012, respectively, but since a decent portion of our audience was still using them at the time, we continued supporting them,” says Blizzard when explaining their decision. “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.
“The games will not run on these older operating systems once they are no longer supported, 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.”
According to the latest Steam hardware survey, the number of people that will actually be affected by this change is vanishingly small. In total, just shy of 1% of Steam users surveyed are running Windows XP for Windows Vista. There are currently 125 million active Steam accounts, so we can assume there are at least 125 million active PC gamers, so there’s still around 1.2 million players around the world that could be affected by this change.
If you are one of these people then it’s probably time for an upgrade if you can manage it. The vast majority of newer titles skip Vista and XP support entirely, so Windows 7 should be seen as the baseline minimum for an operating system, but even Windows 7 misses out on a swathe of the bigger titles.