Xbox chief and Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has confirmed that Activision Blizzard games aren’t coming to Xbox Game Pass anytime soon. In the latest official Xbox podcast, Spencer confirms there’s not going to be a big drop of Activision Blizzard games into Xbox Game Pass in the coming weeks and that we won’t see any until 2024.
The regulatory process took so long… that we weren’t able to get in and work with the Activision Blizzard on that back catalog work. Now that the deal is closed, we’re starting that work, but there is work. I think the Activision Twitter handle… did put out something that talked about 2024, and I think that’s accurate. I would love it if there was some kind of secret celebration drop that’s coming in the next couple of weeks — there’s not.
Activision Blizzard posted on X (formerly Twitter), ahead of the Microsoft deal closing, that Modern Warfare III and Diablo IV both wouldn’t be coming to Xbox Game Pass this year. But it wasn’t clear about the status of older Activision Blizzard games until Phil Spencer’s clarification today.
“I know there will be some disappointment about that,” admits Spencer. “This acquisition is definitely long-term, so the fact that we’re not hitting day one with a bunch of games dropping in to Game Pass is a little bit of a downer, but I’m very excited about the future. And I just want to be straight with people that that’s where we are.”
Many Xbox fans had expected Microsoft to drop older versions of Call of Duty onto Xbox Game Pass almost immediately. Windows Central also reported last week, based on sources, that it expected to “see a ton of new games hit Xbox Game Pass the very minute the deal is finalized.” That report has since been updated to clarify it was a “misinterpretation of the facts.”
Some of the expectation for Xbox Game Pass additions was based on the way Microsoft dropped 20 Bethesda games into Game Pass just two days after its acquisition closed. Microsoft also went out of its way to fix classic Xbox 360 Call of Duty titles in July, just ahead of the original Activision Blizzard deal deadline. Players had been complaining for years about not being able to matchmake in games like Call of Duty: Black Ops and the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and this suddenly got fixed by Microsoft over the summer.
There’s clearly integration work ahead for Activision Blizzard games on Xbox Game Pass, and some of the regulatory uncertainty around the deal likely forced Microsoft to hold off on getting games ready. Xbox fans will now be hoping that Microsoft is taking its time readying one last surprise backward compatibility drop to bring some older Activision classics back to modern hardware.
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