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Blizzard phasing out Windows XP & Vista this year

See you in cyberhell!

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.

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Diablo III

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Heroes of the Storm

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StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty

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World of Warcraft

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About the Author
Alice O'Connor avatar

Alice O'Connor

Associate Editor

Alice has been playing video games since SkiFree and writing about them since 2009, with nine years at RPS. She enjoys immersive sims, roguelikelikes, chunky revolvers, weird little spooky indies, mods, walking simulators, and finding joy in details. Alice lives, swims, and cycles in Scotland.