Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard King was one of the biggest gaming news of 2023. The deal, which was finalized on October 13, gave Microsoft ownership of some of the most popular gaming franchises, such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, and Starcraft. However, fans who were expecting to see these games on Xbox Game Pass in the near future were disappointed to learn that they will have to wait until 2024 at the earliest.
The Reason Behind the Delay
According to Phil Spencer, the CEO of Microsoft Gaming, the reason why Activision Blizzard games will take a while to reach Xbox Game Pass is due to the uncertainty that surrounded the acquisition, which was only confirmed in the week of completion. Spencer revealed this in the latest episode of the Official Xbox Podcast, where he explained that Microsoft wasn’t sure if it would be able to close the deal until the very last moment. As a result, the work on bringing Activision Blizzard’s catalog to Xbox Game Pass only started in mid-October.
Spencer also dismissed the possibility of any surprise launches of Activision Blizzard games on Xbox Game Pass in the immediate future, saying that he would “be straight with people” if something like that was planned. He pointed to Activision Blizzard’s recent mention of a 2024 launch window as an “accurate” target, without giving any further details.
The Size and Scope of Activision Blizzard’s Library
Another factor that may contribute to the delay in bringing Activision Blizzard games to Xbox Game Pass is the sheer size and scope of their library. Activision Blizzard King has over 400 games across various genres and platforms, many of which have loyal fan bases and ongoing support. Some of these games are also tied to exclusive deals or partnerships with other platforms or publishers, such as Sony or Nintendo.
Spencer acknowledged the complexity and diversity of Activision Blizzard’s portfolio, saying that Microsoft will respect their existing commitments and relationships. He also said that Microsoft’s goal is to make these games available to as many players as possible, regardless of their platform of choice. He specifically mentioned Call of Duty, saying that Microsoft has no intention of using it to get people to buy an Xbox console.
The Future of Gaming Under Microsoft
Despite the delay in bringing Activision Blizzard games to Xbox Game Pass, Spencer expressed his excitement and optimism about the future of gaming under Microsoft. He said that the acquisition was a long-term investment that will benefit both gamers and developers. He praised the talent and creativity of Activision Blizzard’s studios, saying that they will have more resources and freedom under Microsoft’s umbrella.
Spencer also hinted at some of the possibilities that the acquisition opens up for cross-franchise collaborations and innovations. He said that he is looking forward to seeing what kind of games Activision Blizzard’s teams will create with Microsoft’s technology and platforms, such as cloud gaming and metaverse. He also said that he is open to hearing from fans about what kind of games they want to see from Activision Blizzard in the future.