Although I couldn’t find any concrete stats online over how many people made an account for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, a fast-paced online strategy card game by Blizzard Entertainment, some are pegging it at 10 million.
Whatever it is, 22-year-old University of Waterloo student Jeffrey Tong says it’s a lot. “I mean, a lot.” And that’s good for Tong, the founder of Hearthstats, a new free web app that allows Hearthstone players to gain insights into their statistics about wins, losses and performance. It already has about 30,000 users, and Tong is generating ad revenue every month, that takes care of bandwidth and other costs.
He’s even been approached by several major gaming firms who want to acquire the site, but it’s not something he’s interested in right now, especially since there’s still more work, including new features and tools for players.
Blizzard Entertainment, the Irvine, California-based gaming studio that makes Hearthstone, is a massively popular firm that makes several successful video games, including the Warcraft sequels, StarCraft, and Diablo series, and the MMORPG World of Warcraft.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a free-to-play digital collectible card game (CCG) that was fully released this month, but had been in open beta since January. It’s available on Microsoft Windows and OS X operating systems, and on iPad in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with releases in other regions to follow. iPhone and Android platform releases are also planned.
It caters to a more “hardcore gamer” type, and thus a subsection that Tong says is playing nearly 24/7. They spend a lot of time and money on these platforms.
“The gaming industry is a huge thing that a lot of VCs are not looking into enough- that’s the biggest entertainment market right now,” said Tong, a chemical engineering student. “Gamers are hardcore about it too, and they pay a lot of money for stupid things. I think there’s a lot of potential in the gaming industry.”
His tool is actually meant to be adaptable to any gaming platform, but for now its solely focused on Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Hearthstats offers simple win/loss tracking for both arena and constructed games. Arenas are entered by each arena run and gold/dust amount is also recorded for each run.
Meanwhile, it offers statistical analysis about how a player’s “decks” (a set of cards) did against various class. There also a social component to the tool as well, as players can share their profile with their friends and other players to show win rates, records and best decks.
Tong’s explanation for why he coded Hearthstats is pretty great. It’s the same story we often hear from veteran entrepreneurs and student coders alike:
“It came out of my own necessity. The game didn’t provide tools I needed and being a programmer, I realized that I could set this up and get more in-depth analysis if I just put all the data in the database. I went ahead and did that and posted the site online and everyone loved it,” he said.