Blizzard Entertainment said that its Hearthstone digital collectible card game has hit 100 million registered players. That’s a big accomplishment for a game that debuted on the PC and mobile devices in 2014.
Hearthstone began as a passion project, taking characters from Blizzard’s Warcraft universe and putting them into a digital collectible card game at a time when such games weren’t in the forefront of most fans. Now such games are a $1.5 billion market, according to market researcher SuperData. And Hearthstone reigns here.
“Reaching 100 million players is a huge milestone for Hearthstone, but what matters to us even more is the fact that so many people around the world have embraced the spirit of the game,” said J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard Entertainment. “Whether at events like BlizzCon and Fireside Gatherings or just in tuning in to watch their favorite streamers, it’s been so inspiring to see millions of players and fans coming together, online and in real life, to participate in the Hearthstone community.”
The success comes from its “easy to learn, hard to master” gameplay: Players build digital card decks and duel each other head-to-head, in a draft mode, or take on solo adventures. It has both charm and accessibility, and it is consistently one of the top games on media platforms like Twitch and YouTube. The audio and visual elements help make it more appealing to wider audiences.
Blizzard announced its next expansion for Heartstone, Rastakhan’s Rumble, last week at BlizzCon. That’s important, as competition will be arriving in the form of Magic: The Gathering — Arena and Valve’s Artifact.
Blizzard recently overhauled the “new-player experience” for the game, putting a bigger buffer between beginners and veterans—making it even easier for anyone to jump in and play.
The Fireside Gathering adds a real-world social component to Hearthstone. Innkeepers organized and run such gatherings in restaurants, bars, community centers, and more. Blizzard said that each month, an average of 2,655 Fireside Gatherings have taken place this year, with 23,000 total so far in 2018.
As a way of commemorating Hearthstone’s 100 million-player milestone, Blizzard is holding a special in-game thank you event from November 7 through November 11. During the celebration, players who log in to the game will receive a one-time reward of six free packs from the most recent expansion set, The Boomsday Project.
In addition, players will be able to complete a series of “Celebrate the Players” event quests to earn up to 500 gold—which can be used to acquire card packs from any set in the game and participate in the Arena mode, where you pick random cards to create a deck of 30.