Blizzard Entertainment launched Hearthstone in 2014, and it quickly became a success and established a $1.4 billion digital card game market. Hearthstone has over 100 million registered players. Valve is hoping that Artifact can capture some of that success.
But Artifact has some key differences from Hearthstone. While Blizzard’s game is free-to-play, Artifact costs $20 and still charges for additional cards. And while Hearthstone is available on PC and mobile, Artifact is only on PC for now.
Artifact is also a more complicated game. Hearthstone takes many of its cues from Magic: The Gathering, itself a huge physical card game (and a presence in the digital space as well). Hearthstone’s gameplay is familiar to people who are used to collectible card games. Artifact is more ambitious, having its action take place on three different playing fields (simulating the three lanes featured in Dota 2’s map).
This is the first major non-VR game release from Valve since Dota 2’s release in 2013. The company had been focusing on VR and hardware initiatives including Steam Machines and the Steam Link. Those hardware endeavors are just about done now.