Blizzard has announced that the Hearthstone for iPad rollout has begun, starting with Canada, Australia and New Zealand with other territories coming online “soon”. That means a wait of days, not weeks, for South African iPad owners itching to get their hands on the iOS version of the game.

Blizzard also has plans to release an Android version of the game, as revealed at last year’s Blizzcon, but today’s announcement didn’t say anything further about it.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a free-to-play online card-trading game that pits players against each other in a similar fashion to the ever-popular Magic: The Gathering. Players build decks of cards by unlocking or buying them for real cash, which they can use to defeat other players’ decks in simulated battle.

It’s been playable on PC for months now, and is free to download and play. The game recently left beta status after thousands of players helped Blizzard test it, and is now a full, stable and feature-complete release.

Blizzard said in its announcement that because Hearthstone is an online game, your data follows you no matter what device you’re playing on. So you can rack up the wins on PC, and when you switch to your iPad or Android tablet (when the Android version drops), all of your stats and decks will be there, too.

Interestingly, Hearthstone is playable across platforms, so PC players can expect to play against iPad players and vice versa. My own experience with the PC version of the game tells me Hearthstone’s intuitive interface will suit touches and finger-flicks.

“Hearthstone’s player base has already grown to more than 10 million registered accounts following the official Windows and Mac release, but we saw that a few people online were holding out for the iPad version,” Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaine said in a statement. “Instead of calling those folks up individually, we figured we might as well let everyone know that the global iPad rollout for Hearthstone has begun, and pretty soon it’ll be available everywhere. The game is a natural fit for tablets — we encourage everyone to check it out on their couch, in their backyard, in a coffee shop … or anywhere else they take their iPads.”

Venturebeat says that analysts are predicting that Hearthstone could make Blizzard as much as $200 million a year.

[Image Credit: us.battle.net]
Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.