Turns out that Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft fans are definitely into the idea of playing on the go.
Publisher Blizzard released its free-to-play head-to-head card battler for the iPad in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand yesterday, and the app is already near the top of the most-downloaded and top-grossing charts in each territory, according to market-tracking firm App Annie. In Canada, Hearthstone is currently the second most-downloaded app only behind Microsoft Word for iPad. Down Under, Blizzard’s first free-to-play mobile title is fourth behind all of Microsoft’s newly introduced Microsoft Office products. In New Zealand, Hearthstone is the most-downloaded app for Apple’s tablet devices.
Of course, Blizzard isn’t just giving away Hearthstone because it loves you. No, this is all about making money from in-app purchases. While many fans (and our own reviewer) laud the title for offering up rewards to players who never spend a dime, that hasn’t stopped Hearthstone from running up the top-grossing charts either.
In Canada, Hearthstone is already the 28th highest-grossing game for the iPad. It’s is No. 35 on Australia’s highest-grossing chart and No. 44 in New Zealand.
Clearly, some people are spending money. The most popular microtransaction is the “Bundle of 7 Expert Packs,” according to iTunes. Each pack contain five cards, and one of those is at least moderately rare.
This is some early evidence that Hearthstone could easily start bringing in millions of dollars for Blizzard. Analysts expect that Blizzard’s free-to-play games — which also includes the upcoming multiplayer arena battler Heroes of the Storm — will make around $200 million this year.
If you’re in the States or another region that isn’t Canada, Australia, or New Zealand, and you’re wondering when you’ll get to play Hearthstone on your tablet, Blizzard is only saying “soon.” If you’re impatient, you could always try our workaround that will enable you to play it on any tablet right now regardless of where you live.
Blizzard is also working on an iPhone and Android versions of Hearthstone that it will release later this year.