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Warcraft is coming to mobile devices, Blizzard says

Investors told it’ll launch sometime this year

artwork of a dwarf riding a gryphon in World of Warcraft Classic Image: Blizzard Entertainment
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Blizzard Entertainment plans to launch a Warcraft title on mobile devices in 2022, Activision said in a quarterly earnings news release that skipped the usual call with investors and analysts.

Details are light, but Blizzard is working on “substantial new content for the Warcraft franchise in 2022,” which includes “all-new mobile Warcraft content.” It also means “new experiences in World of Warcraft and Hearthstone.”

To date, the only mobile presence for Warcraft, a franchise more than 25 years old (with an MMO more than 15 years old), has been in in Hearthstone. That free-to-play game launched on iOS devices in April 2014, and for Android devices at the end of that year. But Hearthstone is a card-collection game, altogether different from the action RPG experience of World of Warcraft or the real-time strategy of the first three Warcraft titles.

Thursday’s news is intriguing considering Blizzard announced Diablo Immortal, a mobile adaptation of the action-RPG franchise, in 2018, intending to launch it sometime last year. In August, Blizzard announced that was delayed until 2022 to accommodate changes and feedback coming out of a series of technical alpha tests from December 2020 to the spring of 2021.

Diablo Immortal’s 2018 announcement was widely panned by diehard fans, who felt tricked by teasers for a major game only to be stuck with a lesser version of the dungeon crawler on phones.

The fact it’s taken so long to come to market hasn’t helped the game’s reputation either. It appears that Blizzard learned from that episode and waited until this Warcraft mobile game was fully baked, before giving it a subtle reveal to a less vocal audience.

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