Activision-owned Blizzard has announced that it is to cease support for Windows XP and Windows Vista clients this year, forcing anyone still running the outdated operating systems to upgrade in order to retain access to their games.
While it limps on in the form of embedded variants, including Windows Embedded POSReady 2009, Windows XP officially entered end of life on April 8th, 2014 - apart from one last patch, for old times' sake, in May
- some seven years after its originally scheduled deadline. Windows Vista, its successor, enjoyed a considerably shorter run, though is technically still supported in the Extended Support phase until April this year. In both cases, though, it spells one thing post-April: The operating systems will no longer be receiving functionality or security patches.
That's reason enough, Blizzard claims, to pull support and push users still running the platforms - around 10 percent of desktop users, according to figures from NetMarketShare
- onto newer operating systems. 'Starting later this year, we will begin the process of ending support for Windows XP and Windows Vista in World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm,
' the company explained in an announcement
to users. '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.
Blizzard has not yet released a timescale for the cessation of support but is likely to wait until after Windows Vista leaves Extended Support in April.