Don’t get too excited now
I came across a strange bit of news recently. Apparently, some people think Hearthstone might come to the Nintendo Switch.
The rumor has been around since the console’s earliest days. In fact, there is even a forum on Battle.net dedicated to its speculation, begun a mere week after the Switch’s release.
The concept, perhaps, does not seem that wild at first. After all, the Switch shares one of its main play formats with the tablet and mobile devices of Hearthstone. And, as the title has shown, card games work immensely well on a mobile play format.
So why shouldn’t the Switch have a card game? And why shouldn’t it be Hearthstone?
I love Hearthstone, and I love the Nintendo Switch. But I have never believed that the card game would come to the console. Sure, the Switch has surprised me before, but I think it’s highly unlikely that Hearthstone will move to any console.
Sure, Blizzard has ported its games to consoles before. Both Diablo III and Overwatch have fine homes away from home on Playstation and Xbox systems. But Hearthstone is a little different.
For one, Hearthstone has rampant microtransactions—not in your Clash of Clans sense, but sort of. Staying current in Hearthstone means buying in to all the latest packs and expansions. One doesn’t need to spend money, but it’s a good idea unless one wants to grind for hundreds of hours. Either way, the game is a very expensive habit.
Second, the system largely operates on its own. Though Blizzard, of course, determines all the latest updates and such for its games wherever they are, Hearthstone is a bit of a special case. The card game experiences a lot of turnover, and as such, a lot of fans might rotate with each expansion. Some disappeared in Naxxramas only to return now.
Buying in to Hearthstone means putting oneself at the mercy of the game’s changing tides. Every year, the game changes completely, and to stay current, fans have to (generally) keep paying Blizzard lots of money. It’s worth noting that, as a free-to-play game, Hearthstone makes all of its revenue via card packs and expansions. For a console to make anything off Hearthstone, it would either need a percentage of pack revenue or a buy-in version of the game.
I think Nintendo is making enough off Pokemon GO and Fire Emblem Heroes to not need this sort of revenue system right now.
So, sorry to let you down like this, but Hearthstone isn’t coming to the Switch. Or PS4. Or Xbox One.