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Hearthstone: Blizzard’s Foray into Mobile

Hearthstone User Interface

Hearthstone User Interface

Blizzard threw a curve ball at PAX East in Boston this weekend by announcing Heathstone, a mobile-friendly collectible card game based on the popular Warcraft franchise.  While there appears to be a fair bit of reaction ranging from disappointed indifference to outright rage that Blizzard would divert resources away from big-name titles, I think this criticism is unfounded given Blizzard’s tendency over the years of taking popular genres and polishing them.  And from what we’ve seen so far, and from having just spent dozens of hours traveling to and from New Zealand,  I can safely say Hearthstone would have been installed on my tablet if it were an option.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t expect Hearthstone to become my game of choice, but I think that’s part of the point: when can anyone say they were really blown away by a mobile game? Mobile games are as much a necessity in this day and age as traveling with a snack in your bag. It’s not that you necessarily want to eat the snack over actually getting a meal, but from time to time it’s necessary and expedient to do so. It makes sense that Blizzard would prefer people choose their version of the gaming meal-replacement bar over others. And just as I prefer Cliff bars over Power Bars for my travel snacks, I expect I’ll prefer Hearthstone over many of the other free-to-play games on the market.

The lack of information about an Android release for Hearthstone does surprise me, though.  The Android user base continues to grow at pretty impressive rates.  While it’s certainly more challenging and resource intensive to port a game like this to Android given the variability of devices and versions, I would have expected at least some projected timeline for those of us not on board the Apple train given Blizzard’s size. I’m interested in Hearthstone, but not enough to play it on PC or to go out and buy an iPad.  I doubt I’m the only one in this boat and hopefully someone at Blizzard will figure that out sooner rather than later.

For those who want to know more about the game, MMO-Champion has a great roll-up on what’s known at this time.

  1. Actro
    March 25, 2013 at 11:14 am

    It seems, more often than not these days, that people react poorly to any new announcement or even release when it comes to video games. Big companies get it the worst, but it feels like the go to strategy is to hate first, warm up to it later (maybe…). To be fair, I’m not sure what people were expecting here. They had said that it was new, something they had never done before. Some expected it to be Blizzard All Stars, but we all knew that was in the works so technically not “new”. They said it wasn’t titan, *crosses fingers for this year to be the year the announce that*. I suppose some people were just hoping to be blown away with some completely finished/polished new game on a graphics engine never seen before showing us gameplay we’d never expect in a million years. We can all hope, but let’s at least be realistic 😛

    As you said before, this honestly makes since. Delving into the mobile market is definitely new for them and something that could be very engaging for a lot of new and old players alike. Perhaps it will even bring people who have never experienced WarCraft to it, or foster a little curiosity about the WarCraft universe for when the movie comes out. Either way, it definitely beats the pants off what is generally out there for the mobile gaming market. Perhaps I am being a bit biased since I do enjoy a good card game. I loved Magic the Gathering when I was first introduced to it and it still holds a special place in my heart, aka my closet. I even played the Pokemon card game for awhile, not one of my proudest moments, but it wasn’t awful. Even something as simple as Apples to Apples can be a lot of fun!

    This is something I’d be willing to pay a small one time fee for or, as their payment model is free to play, perhaps even buy a booster pack or two. I’m with Drew that it wouldn’t be my go to gaming choice and I wouldn’t actually play it on my PC, but having an iPhone I would definitely play it while bored at the airport, or waiting for a doctors appointment. I’m really hoping it quickly gets ported to the droid though. That’s my one reservation. I’d like to be able to play with all my friends, not just the hipsters 😉

    …Sigh, now I want to go dig out my magic cards and start making a new deck to play with. Anyone around ATL have any cards and want to play?

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