By Yoon Sung-won

Blizzard Entertainment unveiled its first smartphone game “Hearthstone,” Tuesday.

The digital card battle game, which has been previously launched for PCs and tablets, also is the first free-to-play title for Blizzard. It showed confidence that the smartphone version of Hearthstone will attract more users for the game.

“We have designed Hearthstone to be easy even for those who have never played a card battle game before. Now the smartphone version of it will make the game even more fit for our purpose,” Blizzard Entertainment’s senior game producer Yong Woo said during a press conference in Seoul, Tuesday. “Over 250,000 Korean users who have registered in aance for the smartphone version will be able to download the game from mobile application stores right after it hits the market. ”

In Hearthstone, users can download and play the game on any supported platforms free of charge. They can also purchase paid contents such as special card packs. Users can choose 30 cards from their collection to battle against others or the computer

Hearthstone’s PC-based online version was launched in March 2014. Later in the year, the game also became available on tablet computers including Apple’s iPads and ones with Google’s Android operating system

When asked why it took so long to prepare for the smartphone version, Woo said the development team needed time to redevelop a new game interface for smaller screens not to sacrifice the intuitiveness.

The US-based game company has established high reputation in the global game industry with its megahit titles including World of Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo series. Consequently, the card game has been considered as an excursion for Blizzard.

Since the launch, however, Hearthstone has proved to be successful, attracting more than 25 million users in the globe. International game competitions such as Hearthstone World Championship and Hearthstone Masters Korea have also been held at home and abroad.

In February, Blizzard Entertainment’s holding company Activision Blizzard picked Hearthstone as one of its biggest revenue generators last year

As the mobile game industry has grown to be compared with that of PC-based online games, the company has repeatedly urged to enter the mobile sector and roll out free-to-play games.

Meanwhile, expectations are that Blizzard’s latest games such as Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm will eventually solidify the grip on its intellectual properties as existing Blizzard characters and storylines are main themes of both games.

Blizzard recently has suffered from alleged intellectual property infringement of its game characters by other companies. The company has filed a lawsuit last month against Taiwanese game firm Lilith Games for illegally using its characters from Blizzard’s World of Warcraft in a mobile game called “Soul Clash. ”

SOURCE: The Korea Times