Hearthstone Launches for iPad in Select Territories

Hearthstone Launches for iPad in Select Territories

Blizzard's collectible card game is now available on the go if you live in Canada, Australia or New Zealand; worldwide release is "soon."

Blizzard said that once Hearthstone shed its "beta" tag and launched into full service, freely available to anyone, an iPad incarnation of the popular collectible card game wouldn't be far behind.

Seems that for once, said iPad incarnation hasn't been afflicted with "Blizzard Time" and is now freely available -- so long as you live in or have access to the iOS App Store for one of the supported territories.

Hearthstone for iOS is presently available in the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand App Stores as part of a "soft launch" -- a common practice for iOS games that have the potential to be very popular. And with somewhere in the region of ten million registered accounts, it's fair to say that Hearthstone very much falls into this category, particularly with how good a fit its fast-paced card-duelling gameplay is for touch-based devices -- though note that being an online game, you'll need a constant, stable Internet connection in order to be able to play on the go.

Soft-launching typically involves releasing a game into a limited market in order to gather data that can be used to prepare for a full, worldwide release. Markets such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland are typically chosen for the fact that they are English-speaking territories of a significantly smaller size than the United States, and this allows app and game developers to test online functionality, App Store performance and average revenue per user -- particularly important for free-to-play titles such as Hearthstone -- in a small, controlled market before opening the floodgates to a much larger audience. It also has the added benefit of helping to build buzz prior to a worldwide release.

Blizzard hasn't given a specific date for when we can expect the worldwide rollout of Hearthstone to other App Stores, but it should be "soon," apparently. Android, iPhone and Windows tablet versions are also in the works, but there's no estimate on a release window for these as yet, either.

If you're yet to discover the joys of Hearthstone for yourself, you can download the PC or Mac client and start playing for free here.

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