In an official post, published on the battle.net forums, Blizzard announced that it would drop the support for Windows XP and Windows Vista OSes. As of October 2017, some of the most popular games the developer has released so far would no longer be available for players who use XP or Vista. Gamers who play Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft II, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Diablo 3 on Windows XP or Vista will have to upgrade to a newer version.
The studio explained that Microsoft ceased the mainstream support for Windows XP and Windows Vista in 2009 and 2012, respectively. However, Blizzard continued supporting them due to the large number of players using them. However, things have changed since 2012 and many players upgraded to a newer OS version. Consequently, the percentage of players, using XP and Vista is now quite low, which gives Blizzard the green light to discontinue the support for the two OS versions.
From October onwards, players who use XP or Vista OS to run Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft II, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, or Diablo 3, will not be able to access the games unless they upgrade to Windows 7 or later. Players, affected by the discontinued OS support have to prepare for reinstalling the game(s), updating the drivers, and making sure all parts are compatible.
Blizzard representatives clarified that the changes would not occur overnight. They also added that a staggered schedule would be released and players will be promptly notified when the developer gets closer to making a change for each of the above-mentioned games.
As a matter of fact, the announcement about the discontinued support of XP and Vista did not come out of the blue. Quite the opposite- Blizzard informed the communities well in advance, in February, to be precise. Still, up until now, it was unclear when the process would begin.
As for players who already use Windows 7, 8, or 10, the dropped support for XP and Vista is good news. Windows XP and Vista OS support required Blizzard to keep feature parity across all platforms. As soon as the games run only on the latest Windows versions, the developer will be able to start improving games’ graphical and mechanical performances.