Blizzard announced that Hearthstone, its digital strategy card game, now has 70 million players. The company decided to celebrate this latest milestone by giving three free card packs to anyone who logs in to their Hearthstone account--even new players--between now and the end of May.
Hearthstone has continually grown since its March 2014 debut. Blizzard announced in May 2015 that the game had 30 million players. By April 2016 it had 50 million, and now in May 2017 that it has more than 70 million. That's at least 20 million additional players every year for three years in a row. And the game doesn't seem to be slowing down--Blizzard continues to release new expansions and tweak cards to keep things fresh.
Those efforts seem to have worked. The company said in today's announcement that with the latest expansion, Journey to Un'Goro, the game had "more players playing together on the same day—around the whole world—than at any point in its history!" A game's total number of users is all but meaningless; people sign up for and immediately abandon games all the time. The number of active users, however, is a better indicator of popularity.
Hearthstone's continued rise in user numbers is particularly notable given its growing competition. Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls: Legends, CD Projekt Red's Gwent, and other card-based strategy games have debuted or been updated over the last few years. Blizzard previously competed with Wizards of the Coast's Magic: The Gathering--now it seems like a month can't pass without news of a new game or expansion to an existing one.