So much for the slow gaming news cycle, eh? Earlier this morning, Microsoft confirmed it will acquire the developer and publisher giant Activision Blizzard for a staggering $68.7 billion USD. It’s one of the biggest deals in games industry history, creating shockwaves around the internet. Microsoft put out several statements answering some questions on the deal. Though, there are still plenty of questions remaining. However, one question that is no doubt at the top of players’ minds is: are Activision Blizzard games heading to Game Pass?
The simple answer is yes, they are. According to a statement by Xbox boss Phil Spencer, the company “will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass.” The collection includes both new games to be released, as well as some from Activision Blizzard’s catalogue. Spencer follows this by announcing that Game Pass has reached 25 million subscribers. It’s easy to assume the number will rise once storied franchises like Diablo and Call of Duty enter the service. It’s unknown how this will affect Activision Blizzard’s Battle.net launcher.
But that does bring up the question of exclusivity. I can easily see Blizzard games making the transition. After all, Blizzard has always been a PC games maker first. Franchises like Call of Duty, though, are arguably too entrenched across multiple platforms to truly go exclusive on Xbox and PC. The likelihood of Activision Blizzard games going exclusive is possible. But “as many … as we can” does speak volumes.
Building a bigger gaming ecosystem
Microsoft made waves when it acquired Bethesda’s parent company last year. Following its $7.5 billion USD purchase of ZeniMax Media, the company announced that Bethesda’s games would be “first or better” on Microsoft services. Naturally, this meant seeing Doom and The Elder Scrolls on Xbox and PC. Following prior contracts Bethesda had with other platform owners, however, exclusivity for newer releases like Starfield is assured. Bringing Activision Blizzard games to the Xbox and Game Pass ecosystem exclusively feels possible, but it might not happen for a while.
Beyond Game Pass, Spencer envisions Activision Blizzard games landing on Microsoft’s Cloud Gaming service. In his message, he said it will allow “more people in more places around the world to participate in the Xbox community using phones, tablets, laptops and other devices you already own.”