Blizzard phasing out Windows XP & Vista this year

World of Warcraft, StarCraft 2, Diablo 3, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm are all to stop working on Windows XP and Windows Vista as Blizzard start phasing out support for ye olde operatinge systemes later this year. Other, older games will still work fine, but folks will need to upgrade to keep playing those newer ones. Windows XP is now fifteen years old and Vista ten, Microsoft have long since stopped updating either, and Blizzard say “the vast majority” of players have upgraded, so they’re knocking old Windows out and smashing ’em in a big skip.

Blizzard explained in Friday’s announcement:

“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. 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.”

WoW is old enough that it has already phased out support for several operating systems, ditching Windows 98, 2000, and ME over the years.

Requiring people to pay for a new OS if they want to play old games is unpleasant but I suppose when games are locked to launchers and accounts, dropping support means those won’t work. And while multiplayer games require players to use the same version, StarCraft and Diablo do have singleplayer modes – just not proper offline support. Staying offline to avoid updating won’t be an option. Diablo 3 infamously has no offline mode, while SC2’s offline mode requires you to log in every 30 days.

That said, I am glad to see Blizzard embrace the philosophy that everything is fleeting, that all flesh is grass, that all we are is dust in the wind, that the past is a tent peg through the foot, and that humanity’s future is as nomads and pirates on a flooded ‘waterworld’, so we may as well cast everything away and walk into the sea.

How about you, gang – any of y’all still on XP or Vista? I know folks get territorial about OS versions but wasn’t Windows 7 better than both? Not that it was free to upgrade, mind. 7 was my favourite for yonks but I bit on Windows 10 with the free upgrade, and am perfectly happy with it. I know Pip curses Windows 10 for causing all sorts of troubles on her PC, mind, and she’s not the only one.

From this site

82 Comments

  1. Sakkura says:

    Technically Vista ought to be supported longer than XP… but it’s Vista, so it makes sense to ditch that too. Extended support is about to end anyway.

    As for Windows 10, YMMV. It seems to work completely fine for some and be awful for others. Consistency would be nice.

    • Premium User Badge

      Don Reba says:

      It’s weird, seeing how Vista, 7, 8, and 10 are all minor versions of the same kernel (NT 6.0, 6.1, 6.2-6.3, and 6.410). Win2k and XP are NT 5.0 and 5.1, respectively.

  2. automatic says:

    I’m not an OS cheerleader, but this is all due to Microsoft policies. 10 years is naught in terms of OS, but MS sells their product (a bunch of electrons statically organized on a metal disc, mind you) as a service, hence the morally questionable programmed obsolescence of their systems. Machines dedicated for games don’t use even a tiny fraction of what they sell on any of their OS packages. XBox itself probably runs on a stripped, DirectX dedicated Windows. It’s a shame they don’t give that option to PC gamers, much like Steam tried to do.

    • PseudoKnight says:

      Dropping support is not programmed obsolescence. They support their OS longer than anyone. Of all their countless faults, that’s not one of them.

      • automatic says:

        It’s not the lack of support that makes companies stop developing games for the system, it’s the lack of compatibility. If support was an issue there wouldn’t be any games for Linux from big companies. For all I know DirectX 12 could be available for Windows XP if Microsoft didn’t cared about selling new OS versions.

        • Sakkura says:

          Backporting the newer WDDM to XP would probably be a lot of work, and I don’t blame them the least bit for leaving XP behind. It’s outdated junk.

          But supporting DX12 on at least Win 8 shouldn’t have been much of an issue.

          • automatic says:

            It’s junk because the way the product is distributed turns it into junk. Every software system out there, from the most complex OS to the simplest calculator, is modular since object oriented programming was introduced. C++ is 35 years old. There is no need to backport anything unless in the middle of development process someone dropped compatibility over feature. Something MS probably did, on purpose, in favor of selling new OS.

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            Don Reba says:

            Every software system out there, from the most complex OS to the simplest calculator, is modular since object oriented programming was introduced.

            Object-oriented features of C++ really have nothing to do with OS modularity. Windows is mostly plain C, and its object model — COM — is not based on C++ classes.

          • automatic says:

            I didn’t knew that. I mentioned C++ as an example of widely available object oriented programming language available since much before Windows was released. MS not using OO is a design choice. It doesn’t change anything I said.

          • automatic says:

            Also, idk COM, but if it is OO then system obsolecence is also a choice, because modularity is one of the basis of OO itself.

        • ezbez says:

          You’ve got it backwards: MS had fantastic backwards compatibility which is one of it’s selling points to business. But this is a question if the opposite: should new (updated) software support older operating systems? There’s nothing MS can do about that except to not introduce new features ever.

          • automatic says:

            That must be a joke. You are lucky if you can open a simple Word document without any formatting problems with a one year of difference between software versions. MS only started worrying about being backwards compatible after ppl like me complained how ridiculous this is.

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            Don Reba says:

            Automatic, ezbez is right. Microsoft often goes above and beyond normal industry practices in backwards compatibility. It is the main reason for the success of Windows and Office. The number of hoops they jumped through to get buggy DOS games to work in Windows 95, for example, is legendary.

            They are still not perfect at it, but it is a very hard problem.

          • automatic says:

            I remember that and it was not an act of altruism from MS. Windows 95 hogged huge resources from formely DOS based machines that had Windows as a mere interface for graphical applications (basically Office). With 95 PC users became obligated to load a bunch of OS crap from the boot if they wanted to use any of the Windows features. It was the first time ever I realized I wouldn’t be able to use the system if I didn’t upgraded my hardware. Not a smooth transition.

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          basilisk says:

          What? A company wants to sell their product? Outrageous!

          Seriously, no other software company in the world is facing the kind of insane expectations that Microsoft has been dealing with for years.

          “Oh, hey, we really like this new feature in the latest AutoCAD, but we’ve got a licence for the previous version, so how about adding the new feature to that version for free? We’re such good customers, after all. And I’m sure it can’t be so difficult to add it to the previous version, right? Since that’s how you created the new version in the first place, by improving the old one, so it obviously can be done.”

          See how preposterous this sounds?

          • automatic says:

            It’s not just selling a product. We’re talking about an OS, a system that manages every other system a user may run on his machine. If the OS determines by development philosophy what a user can or cannot do with his own machine then it involves more than just the product. That’s why a lot of big software companies like MS are moving towards service model. Following this trend they eventually may have the power to define when you can turn your PC on or off. That’s moving back to dumb terminals, only it’s not green screen, and the network is worldwide.

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            basilisk says:

            Mate, I’m not sure if you’re responding to my post or some random voice in your head.

            You said, and I quote, “For all I know DirectX 12 could be available for Windows XP if Microsoft didn’t cared about selling new OS versions.” I said that was ridiculous. How is this related to this thing you just posted, I have no idea.

          • automatic says:

            The voices in my head are saying you probably didn’t read the other posts of the rest of the discussion. DirectX is just a module. They could distribute it or sell it just like a DLC for old and new operational systems alike, but that’s not the company philosophy. They ditched compatibility in favor of a service model because that grants them more sales. I’m not demonizing MS here, a lot of companies are doing this. But I don’t agree with it and I think it’s a horrible idea for users overall.

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            Herring says:

            Direct X is not ‘just a module’. It’s had semi-direct access to the hardware and Ring-0 access to the Kernel since about Windows 2000. It hooks deeply into the various driver stacks too.

            On the general point, supporting old versions of the OS is a money sink. Especially for security updates. Even ignoring that, you’ve just got to draw line somewhere on assumed functionality.

            It took forever to finally pull the trigger on the move to 64 bit computing. I think MS does a great job supporting old OS’s; they don’t need to go any slower.

          • Vanderdecken says:

            “DirectX is just a module”

            You have a fantastical idea of how software development works.

          • Premium User Badge

            basilisk says:

            Automatic, you don’t know much about the Windows architecture, do you? For Vista, they completely rewrote (among many other things) the Windows display driver model. DX10+ hooks to the new model. Windows XP doesn’t have that new model and it certainly can’t be patched in through DLC. This is very low-level stuff we’re talking about. You’d have to release a whole new version of WDDM-enabled Windows XP and why would any sane company do that and why would any sane user install that?

          • automatic says:

            It’s just module. A sound driver is also “deeply hooked” to the hardware that makes music pops out my earphones. Will my OS stop working because I don’t have a sound driver installed? No, I will just not have music, because the sound driver is just an OS module.

            Linux is recognized as the most secure OS out there and it’s backwards compatible. Also, saying it’s expensive on this context seems like just a different way of saying it won’t make them enough money because, unless you ditch compatibility on purpose between versions, most of the work is already done. Take software most people recognize like MS Word, for instance. What are the ultra awesome features on newer versions that prevent simple text from being read on older versions? None. It’s just company philosophy to not make it backwards compatible.

          • automatic says:

            And yet again: the problem is not the support. MS could sell a cheaper Windows version with no support for all I care, but they won’t. Not because they are worried it won’t function properly on ppls machines, but because they are worried ppl won’t need their work anymore. Even their software licenses disclaimer says the products are offered AS IS, so what is all this fuss about support? It’s about service.

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            basilisk says:

            Yeah, it’s not like they would release a free plugin for old versions of Word so they can open the new format. Oh, wait, they did.

            You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about, mate, so I’ll leave you to it. Good day.

          • automatic says:

            You’re completely right. That’s a great argument. Good day to you too, mr.

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            syllopsium says:

            Sorry automatic, you don’t have the experience to know what you’re talking about.

            Also, Linux is definitely not ‘the most secure os’, it doesn’t have excellent backwards compatibility (the kernel interface changes *all the time*), and programs that have ‘worked for years’ only still work now because the later versions use more modern interfaces.

            If you want to know about Microsoft’s compatibility commitment, go and read ‘The Old New Thing’. Microsoft literally bent over backwards to make old software work, including compatibility shims. XP was old and creaky and needed updating to be more secure and take advantage of modern hardware. MS went through a lot of pain with Vista, ask yourself if they would just do that for the lolz, if it was as simple as dropping in a new module or two.

          • automatic says:

            The first Windows I used had to be started from a DOS command line. But you’re right, I will have more experience on historial OS user perspective if I read some MS manual/advertising telling how I really should feel about it.

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            syllopsium says:

            There’s a lot of technical information from Microsoft that is not marketing, but seeing as you’re as Linux fan, let’s try this question :

            Name at least two of the X acceleration systems, a driver that no longer works on modern systems because the old interface has been removed, a chipset still used in modern server systems that has updated graphics drivers that are unusably slower than before, and explain why XTank’s performance is now slower than when released on some chipsets. Then go and look up why this is the case and understand this issue is not limited to Windows

          • automatic says:

            I’ve only started used Linux recently, but right off the bat I can tell you this: you don’t even need to initialize X to use any of the Linux systems that don’t require a graphical interface. With proper technical knowledge or advice (or neither, since some distro may do it for you) you can configure your system to use only the resources enough for running the applications you need (like games, for instance). Where is the Windows version DirectX dedicated for gaming? On XBox.

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            syllopsium says:

            ‘Like games’. You do realise that if you’re not using X for gaming, the exact same interfaces that are used to accelerate OpenGL under X are used elsewhere, and if your historic driver hasn’t been rewritten to support that, or is incapable, it won’t work at all.

            Ask yourself why device support gets dropped, why the kernel memory requirements keep increasing, and why X’s successor is not another release of X, but Wayland.

            Linux is not the panacea you think it is, all OS are subject to the same limitations. Even OpenBSD recently dropped VAX support, because it was becoming too difficult to support, and holding back the other platforms. XP was dropped for the same reason.

          • automatic says:

            Sure, if some software do not support a new hardware, then obviously it needs to be updated. Software is meant to make hardware work, not the opposite. The point is, despite Linux, that’s not the actual trend in OS, or even software development philosophy overall like the news on this own article shows. Why ppl are not allowed to use anymore software they already own that works perfectly on their machines? What does that approach favors? Is this trend new, or is it something that comes from way back in other subtle ways, like for example no backwards compatibility of documents from different Word versions? That’s what this discussion is about. I gave Linux as an example to show how this can be completely different and still work perfectly.

          • Premium User Badge

            syllopsium says:

            You misunderstand; old hardware doesn’t always continue to work with new software on Linux, because either it can’t be updated, no-one wants to do it, or it doesn’t fit with the direction Linux is taking.

            The backwards compatibility of Word is excellent, and Microsoft has released compatibility packs to enable forwards compatibility too, so I’m not sure what you’re referring to.

            No-one is stopping old software from working, with the following caveats :

            1) You get to run the software that was available when the product was current. XP does not get to run products released after it went out of support, but software circa 2001-2014 continues to work (plus most software prior to 2001).

            2) Regardless if it works or not, if the OS/app is no longer updated and the apps you are running have remote vulnerabilities, it must not be exposed to the Internet. Doing so is a douche move, as you’re basically saying you’re more important than everyone else.

            3) Software as a service evolves over time, and its users have to evolve with it. This includes the expectation that eventually hardware and operating systems must be updated. Not doing so costs time, money, and prevents the vast majority of the user base moving forward.

            If you don’t agree with 3) and the subscription service is commercial : tough, ultimately you have to submit to their commercial decisions. If it’s e.g. an open source MMO, you have the ability to fork the code and maintain it yourself, but you’ll probably rapidly find that the effort is large and the userbase willing to engage with an outdated version is insufficient to reach the critical mass to make the community work.

    • Solidstate89 says:

      10 years is in fact a long time for OS support, and no one even comes close to MS’ longevity of support. So to complain about MS not supporting an outdated piece of shit operating system like Windows XP until the heat death of the universe is just plain stupid.

      • automatic says:

        Try to understand what I wrote before shouting stupid to strangers on the Internet. Linux is being developed for 25 years with no official support to users and, much like Windows, it gets better on every version that comes out. This has absolutely nothing to do with support.

        • thedosbox says:

          Try to understand what I wrote before shouting stupid to strangers on the Internet.

          You might want to look in the mirror.

          The Linux user base tends towards the more technically inclined, and thus are able to fend for themselves. The same cannot be said for many Windows users.

          Point being, Microsoft have supported a far more diverse user population than any Linux distribution has.

          • automatic says:

            Point being, Microsoft have supported a far more diverse user population than any Linux distribution has.

            9 out of 10 your Smart TV probably runs over Linux. Have you ever needed Linux support for it?

          • thedosbox says:

            9 out of 10 your Smart TV probably runs over Linux. Have you ever needed Linux support for it?

            LOL, talk about moving the goalposts. How many Smart TV’s run Windows?

            But hey, I’m sure you feel better after making that totally sensible comparison between a plane with an orange.

          • automatic says:

            The main purpose of any OS is running OTHER systems. MS sales pitch (and other companies) of making buying their OS looks like you’re buying a car is pure BS.

        • Siimon says:

          Yet there is plenty of Linux stuff that won’t work on a distro that was released 3 years ago, 5 years ago, 10 years ago…

          • automatic says:

            That’s true, but then you may just install the required modules to run whatever you need. Like DirectX for Windows, but backwards compatible and without all the expired support bullshit.

          • Vanderdecken says:

            Unless those modules require a newer version of the kernel and then… oh look! You need to upgrade your Linux OS!

          • automatic says:

            If you need a new kernel then probably it’s because the software you’re trying to run isn’t compatible with your hardware in the first place. OS is not magic. It won’t let you fry pancakes on a refrigerator, no matter how updated it is.

          • Siimon says:

            “If you need a new kernel then probably it’s because the software you’re trying to run isn’t compatible with your hardware in the first place.”

            That doesn’t even make sense. If you can fix your compatibility issue with a kernel upgrade, then obviously it isn’t a hardware limitation.

          • automatic says:

            Afaik Linux only updated it’s kernel to support new hardware features. If you absolutely depend on a kernel update to use some module it’s either because you installed and old kernel on a new machine, and yes, it will work with a kernel update, or because your machine aged with some kernel version that doesn’t support a module your hardware also doesn’t.

          • Nauallis says:

            At this point I can’t tell if you’re trolling or just stupid pedantically argumentative obtuse.

          • automatic says:

            Neither, but when the first argument from ppl in most posts of a discussion becomes “you don’t know what you’re talking about”, followed by some passionate defense, probably motivated more by advertising than experience, then I my will to give a torough response kinda fades.

          • Premium User Badge

            basilisk says:

            Then maybe you should consider the possibility that you indeed don’t know what you’re talking about.

            I can see you consider yourself an experienced user, but most of your posts here, if not all of them, contain something that’s either factually incorrect or completely misunderstands how any of these things work. It doesn’t seem to me that you know what “object oriented programming” actually means or what a “kernel” is, even though you happily offer your wisdom on both.

            Just food for thought. If everyone keeps telling you that you’re wrong, you may be an underappreciated maverick genius, or you may just be wrong.

          • automatic says:

            So I don’t know what I talking about just because you THINK I don’t know what I’m talking about? That’s a great line of thought there. You understand this works both ways, right? If you can call this a discussion at all I mean.

  3. Kefren says:

    There’s a difference between not supporting a game on an older OS (“use at your own risk – it may stop working”), and specifically disabling a game from working on an older OS. The former is fine, the latter is annoying. At the every least, if the current version works, give a standalone offline copy to those who bought it, so they can play the older version (that won’t be updated) for as long as they want. It’s why I rarely buy a game that requires online activation (and even then, only at a massive discount).

    • Premium User Badge

      boundless08 says:

      This a thousand times.

      I really don’t get the disabling of those systems and making them no longer work. Just make them unsupported and filter every email that has “XP” and “vista” to spam, or preferably forward straight to Lord Overseer Kotick himself.

    • Nauallis says:

      I would otherwise agree with you on principle, except for the incredible lack of touch with reality that you’re displaying, in that none of these games (with the notable exception of Starcraft 2’s campaigns) are even meant to be singleplayer. Whining about Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm is even more absurd, because those games are free.

    • Siimon says:

      They’re only disabling support for old (ancient, outdated, unsupported) OS’s for games that are currently being developed + are online only. They can’t keep holding back new features / spending time and effort ensuring backwards compatibility / having multiple versions of things just to keep XP and Vista support going.

      For crissake:
      “After 12 years, support for Windows XP ended April 8, 2014.”

      If you’re still on XP now you sure as shit can’t expect to play modern games – and yes, even though WoW was released eons ago, it IS a modern game because it is constantly updated and is an MMO. Get with the times here.

      Now if they disabled older OS functionality of other, older, offline games, that they don’t release any updates for – then yeah, by all means, rant and rave that they artificially disabled things.

      • automatic says:

        Ppl don’t realize the point is having an updated OS should not be a requirement to run software you already bought. Maybe someone simply don’t want to buy a new OS for some summer house PC they own just for children entertainment. Maybe people have other, more important software in the machine not compatible with updated OS. You simply can’t figure all scenarios based on a trend you’re following yourself. And that trend is: you shouldn’t control things installed on your own machine. The trend is moving software from product to service, even if you don’t need that service. No matter if all you need is a calculator, software companies like Microsoft will shove you gigs of useless garbage on compulsory updates that you can’t even choose when to install. That’s bad and I see no argument to defend it other than “duh, but it’s old”.

        • Premium User Badge

          The Borderer says:

          I have no problem if people want to keep using Windows XP, but those machines should not be connected to the internet. If they are then they are a liability. I don’t want your insecure devices messing up the internet with botnets, just like I don’t want cars with bald tyres on public roads or neighbours who play loud music at 3AM every day.

          If you want internet access and don’t like the way that Microsoft handle updates then use Linux (use whatever distro you like, but I use Mint). If you don’t like that linux doesn’t run the games/software you want then use a supported version of Windows.

          You are going to have to compromise somewhere, whether you like it or not.

          • automatic says:

            And who the fuck made Microsoft, or any other software company, Internet king? Afaik, as long as I’m not purposefully harming other people, I can connect to the Internet using a vibrator with IP if I want to. Software is like any other intellectual creation. You have no control of what ppl do about it after you share it. Trying to subvert this logic goes against creativity itself.

          • Premium User Badge

            syllopsium says:

            You *ARE* potentially harming people by running an old, unsupported OS with vulnerabilities, that can be infected by trojans, bots and the like, and then attack other systems.

            This is a reality not just for unsupported versions of Windows, but also for older versions of Linux/Unix, particularly those embedded in routers, Internet connected devices, etc. This problem is only going to get worse, and at some point if people don’t take responsibility it will be enforced – probably in an extremely heavy handed manner, by governments..

          • automatic says:

            That is ridiculous. Ppl can’t be forced to upgrade a personal system because of abstract, potential risks, that may not even become real in the first place. Specially on an international network. What government will enforce it? Protocols exist for this kind of thing. If an old protocol allows machines to put the the network to risk you change the protocol, not every single potentially dangerous machine connected to the network.

          • Malcolm says:

            Mirai for example is definitely not an “abstract, potential risk”.

          • Premium User Badge

            syllopsium says:

            Change the protocol? Great, so glad you agree with me. The way to ‘change the protocol’ is to arrange things so that vulnerable devices are completely blocked from the Internet. Which is how they should be right now..

          • automatic says:

            No, that’s not how I think. That’s way too simplistic. That kind of thought may ensnare the masses in a presidential election but in practice it’s just dumb, and way too costy. Besides millions of personal equipment there are big business out there that use old hardware, old software and work perfectly fine with it. And I mean big to the point that changing architecture can put them out of business. What I mean by changing protocol is changing only what is potentially risky. Infrastructural changes on nodes that allows threats to be detected without compromising traffic liberty or privacy, for instance, that kind of thing.

          • Premium User Badge

            syllopsium says:

            You don’t understand the problem. The companies that still use old systems that are vulnerable do not expose them to the harm, and if at all possible try and virtualise the old hardware and operating systems so that new, up to date, secure systems are in use.

            It is not possible to put a protocol filter around everything, sometimes the only way is not exposing it to other systems. Don’t take my word for it though, go and look at why various protocols, ciphers, and transports have been removed.

        • Siimon says:

          “Maybe someone simply don’t want to buy a new OS for some summer house PC they own just for children entertainment. ”

          I paid for an OTA antenna for my summer house TV, can you force the TV companies and the government to keep broadcasting OTA so I don’t have to buy a cable box just so my kids can watch TV? In fact, why don’t you make them get rid of cable TV boxes – screw it if my neighbors want HD content, I’m fine with SD OTA content and since I already paid for the antenna the company should keep supporting that forever.

          • automatic says:

            Nobody is asking MS to keep feeding content. In fact, it’s the opposite of that. People want the right to use something they bought the way they bought it, without compulsory updates that may cripple functionality or even prevent ppl from using the software, like this SC2 thing.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        “They can’t keep holding back new features / spending time and effort ensuring backwards compatibility / having multiple versions of things just to keep XP and Vista support going.”

        They can do exactly that. If your new features will break the game don’t implement them, implement them better or save them for a new game, sequel or expansion. What would probably be better than adding a new feature is to ensure that people who already have bought the game and have been playing it for years are still able to do so.

        • Siimon says:

          With unlimited money, sure they can do it. They could have a team of people working to make sure that an OS older than half the people playing the game will still work. But it does not make financial sense to keep multiple builds around just for those technophobic people who are on a 15 year old OS.

          “implement them better or save them for a new game, sequel or expansion”

          So you’re OK with the extreme minority of players who are on WinXP get to hold back development of new features from everybody else? Why should they have to buy a whole new game just to get those features? Should they also have held back on graphical improvements? Because WoW these days have higher hardware requirements than the game did on day one by quite a lot. Oh, and it already dropped support for the original OS:s! Original (2004) WoW system requirements were: 800MHz CPU, 32MB GPU, 256MB RAM, Windows 98.

          If this was done to any 100% offline game, sure, I’d be lighting my torch with you. This; however, is for games that are either subscription based (WoW, Diablo3), have a clear notice that you have to be online at least once every 30 days to play (SC2)

          XP is an unsupported system, it has long outlived its useful life, the $100 you spent on it 15 years ago has long since been paid off. IMO if you’re on Windows XP you shouldn’t be allowed on the internet as you’re on a melting pot of vulnerability that is likely detrimental to the internet as a whole.

          “people who already have bought the game and have been playing it for years are still able to do so.” — 99% of those players will still be able to do so. Sometimes time moves on without you technophobes ;)

          • Premium User Badge

            BlueTemplar says:

            Diablo 3 isn’t subscribtion based, and like StarCraft 2, with minor effort from Blizzard could be perfectly well enjoyed offline. Likewise for giving access to older versions of their software.

            But Blizzard cares more about preventing piracy / cheating than about making their software free to work without depending on their servers (that you might not have a good connection to and that won’t be around forever).

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      Wisq says:

      There’s a difference between not supporting a game on an older OS (“use at your own risk – it may stop working”), and specifically disabling a game from working on an older OS.

      For a computer-savvy user who knows how to google error messages and determine where the problem lays, yes.

      For the majority of users, we’re actually talking about a difference between a message saying “You need to update your version of Windows” versus a cryptic error message that has nothing to do with Windows, occurring at some unknown point in the future, making the user think the game is broken, the company making it is bad at testing, etc etc.

      If Blizzard wants to avoid the latter, they have to continue to test each new version on older OSes. At some point, enough is enough, and it’s time to just declare that your 15-year-old OS is just too darn old to reliably play this.

      If you can find some tool that fakes your Windows version and the game still works, then great — but that’s on you, and I think this is more than reasonable.

  4. Billtvm says:

    I think it is better if Microsoft can adopt the version less rolling release system being used by some Linux distributions like Arch. The way it works is that each component of the OS keeps evolving at its own rate sometimes even on a daily basis, so it becomes a dynamic entity, instead of a static thing like a predefined version.

    • pepperfez says:

      I think 10 is their attempt to do that; they just have to annihilate all trace of their previous versions for it to work.

    • Czrly says:

      Oy! You’ve got to push Candy Crush out to the masses at least once every six months and, to do that, you need releases! Call them what you will (something-2, anniversary… whatever’s next) but they’re still releases. ;)

      I wish Microsoft were actually making an operating system, though. That way, they actually wouldn’t need to roll out much at all, really. (The Windows platform and the kernel don’t change that much, now.) The problem is that they’re really trying to make a revenue-generating platform with a Store, advertisements, bundled Candy Crush… All this stuff isn’t perfect and so it constantly needs big updates but if it wasn’t there, how much would really need to be patched and how many breaking changes would really be seen?

    • Ragnar says:

      They did/attempted just that with Windows 10. The idea behind it was to get everyone using 10, and then there’ll be only the one version of Windows and they’ll just update 10.

  5. Gomer_Pyle says:

    Windows 10 is alright, though there are some annoyances like certain older games not working, but other than that it’s pretty good. I still think that 7 was the best, however.

  6. cardboardcity says:

    Windows holy war under way (nods off).

  7. frogulox says:

    Well that’s disappointing. My creaky old nerd box could barely play stuff anyway, but it would still function with hope and voodoo.

    Now even that is being yanked out from underneath.

    I get why, and my disappointment won’t change anything, but it still sucks. I like HotS and I have SC2, so thats hours and coin I wont get back til I spend on an upgrade and an OS.

    I’m reminded of the sunk cost fallacy..

    • Siimon says:

      Out of curiosity, why are you still on an OS that is 15 years old? It was officially out of support many years ago

      • frogulox says:

        I’m using Vista, and I haven’t upgraded my OS or hardware (outside of a few kind donations) because despite my deep interest in games I can’t justify many of the associated bulk costs in the face of other life stuff.

        Basically my household has more important things to spend money on.
        I buy games in bundles and I play with everything played right down to the lowest and I parctic patience.
        A death in the family means I inherited a nice 1080p monitor, but it’s native resolution means it’s actually had a negative impact.

  8. Premium User Badge

    syllopsium says:

    ‘since a decent portion of our audience was still using them at the time, we continued supporting them’

    That’s a bit naughty to be honest, as Vista actually stops being supported for security fixes in April. That’s not a long time away so it’s splitting hairs a little, but Chrome have already stopped bothering to update on XP and Vista.

    I do still have a laptop with Vista on (primarily it runs OpenBSD) because it shipped with that license. May have to think of finally updating it..

    However, this is all moot because I don’t play MMOs. Single player, or local co-op all the way.

    • Premium User Badge

      Don Reba says:

      primarily it runs OpenBSD

      Cool. Security-related work?

      • Premium User Badge

        syllopsium says:

        Not generally, I just like BSD Unix, and the way OpenBSD is put together – it’s a very coherent system. Also, I’m extremely stubborn and willing to persevere with technical gubbins. It does have its limitations, but a lot of what I do (on a laptop) can be handled with a web browser, basic productivity tools, networking, and cross platform dev tools.

        Obviously it’s not very good for games, there’s no binary drivers whatsoever, NVidia driver support is shockingly bad (it still uses the nv X driver, no nouveau), no Linux compatibility, no firewire, no bluetooth, no wine.. It will run a number of cross platform games and emulators, though.

        For the average person I would definitely recommend Windows as a desktop, its engineering is actually very good. What’s more usually true is that people disagree with its direction, interface, ethos, and DRM/monitoring.

  9. automatic says:

    I’ll abstract other parts of this discussion, not because they are unimportant, but because it’s extending beyond what is practical for me to answer and address only the points 2 and 3 you cited wich are the core of the issue I believe.
    The problem I’m trying to picture here is that every big closed source software developer is moving towards service model. Do you by any chance remember SC2 controversy about removing LAN support? I do. And now, not enough they condition access to a game that has 100% of the data stored on your own HD and is 100% processed by your own computer (on single player at least) by a connection to the internet, they are also making it impossible to play on machines where it worked perfeclty fine before through compulsory updates. Is it so hard to understand what this is about? You may not have this problem now, or with a game, but it may get to you eventually if you’re not following some stupid trend. I will not get into details about compability issues but there’s enough examples beyond Word where it’s used as a tool to force a user to update.

    • automatic says:

      This is a response to syllopsium. I’m having trouble answering long threads. Anyway, this discussion went too far already I guess.