It's a sad day for fans of Microsoft's older OSes. It's been years since the software company finally ended support for Windows XP and Vista, and Blizzard will finally follow suit. Starting in October, support for World of Warcraft, Diablo III, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm will end.
That doesn't just mean a lack of focus, either. You'll be unable run those games at all if you're not running Windows 7 or higher. It's worth nothing, however, that this will happen on a staggered schedule. Each game will have a different end date, though the exact details are not yet known.
Vast Majority Upgraded
Though Blizzard hasn't made it's reasoning abundantly clear yet, it's statement does give a good indication.
“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,” explained Blizzard. “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.”
In essence, Blizzard doesn't believe supporting old, insecure OSes warrants the manpower for such a small player base. Though some will have genuine reasons for sticking with XP, we've already seen major attacks due to Microsoft's lack of support.
At the end of the day, standing by XP and Vista players could put them at risk and encourage poor security practices. Though it's definitely an inconvenience, the latest statistics show that XP users only make up 7% of the total OS market, and that number will be far lower for gamers. Windows Vista, on the other hand, sits at just 0.53%.