With the recent news that Xbox has reportedly submitted all the requested info to the FTC regarding the big Activision Blizzard deal, we’re starting to get excited about the prospect of the publisher’s titles hitting Xbox Game Pass. Sure, we’ve known for some time that Xbox is hoping to bring as many Activision Blizzard games to the library as possible, but now that the deal could be closing in the near future, it’s all starting to feel real.
When we first found out about the acquisition, Microsoft said that the deal should conclude some time between July 2022 and June 2023. Naturally, with a merger this size, a lot of us expected 2023 to be the more likely timeline. The fact that it could now be this year is getting us all giddy about Game Pass growth. So, with that in mind, here are five reasons we’re getting real excited about Activision Blizzard on Xbox Game Pass...
Crash & Spyro Finding A New Home On Xbox
We recently looked at Stray compared to Blinx and why we think Xbox could invest in the latter to create a cool little platform mascot. Well, how about these two lads? That’s right, if the deal goes through Crash and Spyro would be Xbox-owned, and a bunch of their respective catalogues will be added to the Game Pass library. Given that both of these series’ have received remastered trilogies, that should mean we’ll get all of their iconic entries on the service.
Then, there’s the future of these franchises. Activision had seemingly shelved both of these after their revivals didn’t sell gangbusters (especially Spyro, at least Crash got a new game) but now Xbox would have a hold of them, and we’d expect to see new entries in both series’. We’d love to see a new Spyro with all that Xbox Series X|S next-gen goodness baked in. Just use the Reignited Trilogy as a starting point, that collection was bloody gorgeous!
Call Of Duty Is Still King
Look, we know, a lot of you are probably tired of Call of Duty. This writer is a huge fan and even they are feeling the burnout. But the truth of it is this - Call of Duty is still the king of console shooters. Battlefield 2042’s fumbled launch and Halo Infinite’s lack of a proper post-launch plan have reinforced that thought. Even Vanguard, arguably the worst Call of Duty in some time, has delivered its live service much more efficiently than these two.
And with the upcoming launch of Modern Warfare 2, which will no doubt be absolutely massive alongside Warzone 2's 2022 launch, this series ain’t going anywhere. In fact, it's enjoyed a bit of a revival since the 2019 Modern Warfare reboot, and while its direct sequel might not hit Game Pass on day one due to contractual obligations, we’d expect it to come one day, alongside an absolutely gargantuan library of first-person shooters. The Xbox 360 CoD titles hitting Game Pass alone is enough to get excited about, as some of those are up there with the best console shooters ever made!
Some Dormant Franchises Could Return
Once upon a time, Activision used to make more than Call of Duty. Remember Guitar Hero, Prototype, Singularity? We’d hedge our bets that some of these dormant Activision franchises would have more chance at returning when the defining metric for them won’t be sales. Xbox is looking to ultimately boost its Game Pass subscriber count, so not every single release has to sell 85 million copies…
Guitar Hero in particular just feels right as an Xbox Game Pass addition (yes, we’ve already ranted about this). Sure, there’s the hurdle of getting those plastic instruments into people’s homes for the full experience, but if they can figure that out, Guitar Hero on Game Pass is golden. New music packs every few months as Game Pass Ultimate perks? We can already see it!
Blizzard Integration on Game Pass
Let’s not forget, this deal includes Blizzard, who merged with Activision many moons ago. Yes, we obviously get some superb Blizzard titles on Xbox Game Pass like Overwatch, Diablo and such, but a huge number of their titles are also PC-only, mainly due to how they work with controls and the like.
Even so, there's potential for even deeper Blizzard integration with Xbox Game Pass. That could include Game Pass Ultimate perks for the likes of World of Warcraft, Hearthstone and more (maybe even add the latter to Xbox Cloud Gaming?), or possibly even a full WoW sub being included in the PC Game Pass library. That would certainly drive sub numbers, given the current cost of a World of Warcraft subscription on its own.
More Regular First-Party Releases
One huge bonus we’ll land once Activision comes aboard, is the breadth of developer talent spread across the company’s many, many studios. Sure, most of them at present are working on Call of Duty in some fashion, but Xbox could shuffle things around so that some of these teams are freed up for other projects.
We just mentioned Singularity, the underrated shooter from the now-CoD Warzone developer Raven Software. We’d love to see the shackles removed with this team in particular, so they could revisit that series or maybe, just maybe, create a new IP. Such a term has seemed alien to Activision in recent years, but the Xbox deal gives us hope that we may well see some new franchises from these Activision teams in the not-too-distant future.
What are you most excited about with Xbox and Activision Blizzard joining forces? Let us know down in the comments!
Have Europe cleared the deal? Saw they were investigating too but haven't seen any follow ups.
I'm excited for the CoD campaigns, Diablo and hopefully some kids games. That Crash kart game would be great
Whilst I can't stand the call of duty multiplayer, I wouldn't mind playing through all the single player campaigns
Only other games I'm interested in from them are overwatch 2 which is free to play anyway and diablo which is staying multiplatform and takes 7+ years for each installment
Diablo IV would be a huge plus for my wife and I, as we're always on the lookout for quality co-op games.
In the immediate here and now, absolutely we would see past and future Activision Blizzard games come to Game Pass to bolster the lineup and the appeal of the service. However, I think that the assumption that Microsoft will immediately start shuffling things/studios around and resurrecting old IP's is wishful thinking. I'm sure that eventually we might see new entries in long-dormant franchises form Activision Blizzard studios, but that takes time.
MS will already have its currently owned studios working on things and have an internal schedule in place for each of them, and moving around or taking AB studios off of current projects will be no small undertaking in itself. Warzone 2 alone, for example, will be a massive project with many studios having a hand in it and, as Halo Infinite has shown us repeatedly over the last 8 months, you can't go into a live service game like that half-cocked or the fanbase will eat you alive.
did you forget sekiro also activision game?
Great shout-out for Raven Software. Not just the underrated Singularity but also their Wolfenstein game is often overlooked as well. And imagine if we get Hexen on Game Pass!
@rhyno_888 sekiro ip is owned by from software, Activision just published the game, they could have the rights to put it onto gamepass, but any future sequels from software have a say on what platforms they go on
The thing that will get me the most excited is when we start to see announcements and releases of mascot and lost franchises and/or new mascot or creative franchises. Whether we see Crash and Spyro come back in a big way, or we see studios freed up to create the next Mascot game, I would be pumped. Plus I would LOVE to see A new Tony Hawk Underground type game and the evolution of Guitar Hero.
Here’s my pitch for Guitar Hero. Battle Royale similar to Fall Guys. 60 players are given a random song (maybe of an easier level). The top forty then move on and play the next song. After several rounds there’s a showdown with a challenging, randomly selected song. Winner gets a mini movie celebration with their avatar rocking on stage. You can earn clothes and guitars and stuff through gameplay.
There would also be the standard party modes and campaign, but I think GH as a Royale would be sweet.
Edit: you could also have a “team” mode where there is a guitarist, bassist, drummer and singer and the winning “band” gets a victory video and trophy of some kind. A true online “Battle of the Bands”.
We’re cutting it close but if they could get this deal finalised and get this years cod on gamepass this year… well would certainly boost their gamepass subs over Christmas…
I'm sure that if MS can conclude the deal with A/B before Diablo IV releases, that too will be on Game Pass 'day and date'. I know it wasn't announced as a 'Game Pass' game, but then MS aren't going to make some kind of deal with A/B to 'publish' on Game Pass when A/B can't make deals (as they are being sold) and may end up owning the Publishing rights before the game is released.
Of course I expect Game Pass to get an injection of A/B made games just like we saw with the Bethesda deal closing. Of course A/B games like Spider-Man, Transformers etc won't be added due to,3rd party licensing issues - something that may also impact their Guitar Hero games too with all those licensed tracks. I don't know if many would still have the peripherals to play those either - if they work on the 'new' gen consoles.
A/B haven't really made a lot of games for years - a few remasters but most of their output has been focussed on pushing CoD out every year. With Development times increasing, they have pulled more and more studio's into CoD - first Treyarch to give IW an 'extra year' to make CoD4 at the start of the 360 era. By the XB1 era, they had already pulled in Raven but also Sledgehammer gave IW and Treyarch '3yrs' - which was still a struggle to get games 'finished' in time so basically ALL studio's work on CoD...
I think MS will 'organise' these Studios so that 1 is the CoD studio - like 343 is Halo or Mojang is Minecraft. Whether its an existing studio (IW, Treyarch, Raven etc) or they create a Studio from those Studios staff pool, I don't know - but MS want their Studio's to be working on their OWN projects, creating their OWN identity/culture/fan-base, have their own creative freedom. Its the way ALL their other Studios are - Obsidian, Ninja Theory, Double Fine, Bethesda, Arkane, Tango etc all have their own identity that comes through in their games so I expect A/B studios to follow suit - although I doubt it will happen overnight...
Then its just the long wait for those studio's to make their own games and get them out to the gamers...
@Bleachedsmiles this year's cod won't be on gamepass as I'm sure that would go against the deal they have in place with Sony
It wouldn't be Game Pass day one sadly.
PlayStation still have a deal for 2 more COD games in terms of marketing and exclusive content.
Personally would love to have some of the older COD games on GP. Some of the campaigns were really good.
I'm torn on cod coming to game pass , I love cod .... Single player ,I don't want to play multiplayer or be forced to play multiplayer to get all the achivements
I wonder if Microsoft will consider bringing back the backwards compatibility program. The vast majority of backwards compatibility Activision games are CoD (OG Xbox and 360 era Activision was so much more than just CoD unlike nowadays) but perhaps with the acquisition it'll make adding non-CoD easier.
Have another big batch of games including non-CoD Activision games and more non-Activision games alongside it.
Otherwise the big Game Pass drop after the acquisition is going to be like 20 CoD games and 6 non-CoD games which wouldn't be a good look on Xbox.
Still don't care about Activision games but the idea of backwards compatibility possibly returning is exciting.
@pip_muzz man I wasnt excited. Then I saw your comment and it blew my mind. Hexen! Isn't that the puzzle game with hexagonal shapes? If so. Yes, it's like Christmas has come early. Love that!
@themcnoisy you're thinking of Hexic, which is already free to download and play.
Diablo IV would be extremely sweet!
I just want the 360 CODs on GP. That alone would boost the player counts on 360. Most of the classic COD action is on PS3 these days due to the free online. I mean some of the servers are busted and need work but I doubt that will get fixed after the merger
@UltimateOtaku91 well that's too bad.. if it were activision's. next sekiro game could have been xbox exclusive like bloodborne was to PS
@Would_you_kindly just because they have existing marketing deals there’s absolutely nothing stopping them from putting it on gamepass should the seal be concluded in time. The only thing they couldn’t do is make it exclusive, they’d also have to give Sony whatever was previously agreed in terms of advance marketing and in game perks but there’s nothing that would stop it being on gamepass. That would be amazing
Allowing the cod support teams to work on other things under Bethesda and Xbox as well will help out a lot. The amount of support teams Xbox has now will also benefit the other main first party teams greatly as well
If they would include WoW sub into gamepass that would be enough for me. I loved my time with WoW years ago but now I can't justify paying for a sub because of my gaming time. If it was integrated into Gamepass that's a whole different story.
@themcnoisy you're thinking of Hexic.
Hexen was a game like Doom where you had different characters (mage, knight etc...) in an old school FPS way.
Marketing and exclusive content PlayStation have…but they don’t have timed exclusivity on the game itself. So there’s still a chance this years or next years cod could be on gamepass day 1.
And if Sonys deal does mean Xbox can’t put games on their subscription service then it would be a pretty big move if Sony could look to adding it to theirs whilst they can and reap the extra subs from that
Still would have preferred Xbox buying out someone like Warner Bros. Obviously from a business point of view it makes sense for Microsoft. For me Personally, I dislike Activision.
"And if Sonys deal does mean Xbox can’t put games on their subscription service then it would be a pretty big move if Sony could look to adding it to theirs whilst they can and reap the extra subs from that"
Well that would be a thing to witness, imagine the fanboy outcry when MLB released day one on GP but multiplied by a hundred 😅.
However, you can safely assume the likelihood of that happening is the same as Putin apologising to Ukraine for one the biggest fu*k ups in modern European history, and also willingly turning up at the Hague to face War crime charges.
Take your pick...
The chance of it happening are pretty slim.
As we saw with the leaked marketing documents with RE: Village, Sony inserts a clause that prevents the game entering any sort of subscription based service during the time length of the marketing deal.
So we'll probably get all previous CODs up to Vanguard on Game Pass, but we won't get the next 2 day one as MS will look to honour any previous deals.
@blinx01 it’s odd the choice of words Phil Spencer uses once these acquisitions are completed…things like saying how they’ll ‘honour existing deals’ Sony has in place…as if there’s a choice there…
Maybe MS can flex some and have it in an agreement that Sonys platforms can still get the likes of cod on condition this or next years edition is day 1 gamepass bound. I mean this is assuming activison even signed a similar contact to capcom. Would be nice to see some spite from Xbox…like remove all existing Bethesda games from plus if Sony are going to continue playing hardball. Rather than MS ‘playing nice’ at the expense of Xbox install base.
@Chaudy Warner Bro have literally nothing to offer. All of their studios work on nothing but license IPs besides NetherRealm and mortal Kombat...
@Floki Suicide Squad, Hogwarts Legacy, Gotham Knights, Mortal Kombat, Batman Arkham Games - How's that nothing?
@Chaudy All of those are licensed IPs (Besides mortal Kombat) Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment does not own the rights to them. Their parent company Warner Bros. Discovery owns them. If Microsoft bought Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment they would have to get the licenses for any DC, Harry Potter, Lord of Rings... etc properties. Warner Bro. Interactive Entertainment is basically worthless since they don't own any actual IPs.
@Floki didn't discovery recently buyout Warner Bros? Before that surely it was Warner Bros who owned the IP. I think that acquisitions happened this year after the Activision deal. Xbox could've bought them instead hence Owned all those IP.
@Chaudy No. ATT spin-off both WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc into one company, Warner Bros. Discovery. Before that it was WarnerMedia that own the IPs. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is the game publisher who handles making licensed games of WarnerMedia/Warner Bros. Discovery owned IPs
EDIT: If Microsoft wanted to continue makes DC, Harry Potter games... etc After say buying Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. They would have to license them out from Warner Bros. Discovery. Just like Sony is licensing out Spider-Man from Disney.
This probably why no one have bought those studio even after multiple reports of them being for sale. The studio are completely worthless without the IP, and licensing the IP would probably cost an arm and a leg.
@Floki ah I see, thought it was Warner bros who owned. In that case yeah was never worth buying WB.
Skylanders - That’s all I want included.
I’m a big fan of many of these franchises. World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Diablo, Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, Crash Team Racing. All those games I enjoy and would be fantastic additions to Game Pass.
But I really hope they both include the old Skylanders games and revive the franchise.
They could even add Skylanders to Game Pass and have the characters as unlockable inside the game (and still allow those of us with figurines to use our own).
@BartoxTharglod Yeah, candy crush probably still makes loads of money each and every year…they’ll probably use that to push gamepass cloud gaming some way (add candy crush perks or whatever)…same with wow… although that also comes with net code that might end up being adopted for future games as a service games.
Cod is the big one, of course - still one of the best selling (if not the best) games each and every year. Still one of the handful of games casual gamers go out and buy each and every year…that’s a huge win for gamepass growth.
And then there’s all the other studios, and engines etc… lots of potential there… get the crash team making a new banjo for a start.
Of course the success of all these acquisitions relies on good management… which Xbox has proven time and time again they don’t currently have. So who knows if their investment will pay off… or if they end up raising the price of gamepass for all of us because they can’t get any games across the finish line and subs aren’t growing. We shall see.
One things for certain…they didn’t purchase activision out of some goodness to bring upon a ‘cultural change’…or though I’m sure the bad publicity helped with the price due to shareholders desire to jump ship.
Can't wait for diablo 4 on gamepass, although I'm annoyed why the necromancer in the trailer has those modern twitter weirdo (or insane) haircut lol.
You are sure the marketing deal Sony has had for years will exclude Xbox putting CoD into XGP?
Their have been multiple other games that Sony has had marketing for that were also XGP games day one... Even PS first party MLB The Show.
Xbox does actually have a choice to honor existing deals or not.... Its called buying out a contract. You break the terms of the contract, then you have to pay whatever the agreed terms are for breaking the contract. The money Xbox has already put into the deal, they should buy out any deals with Sony. I am guessing they did not do this with Death Loop and Ghost wire was because the price of breaking the contracts would make it impossible to make any money on those games
I want to see Sierra Online titles emerge from this deal.
Satya Nadella stated on the Microsoft Earnings Call that Xbox has been the market leader in sales for "Next-Gen Platforms" for 3 Quarters in a Row in North America.
Bare in mind they've had zero first party titles since Halo Infinite vs PS5 with Horizon: FW and GT7.
I hardly think they'll be worrying about getting "destroyed" due to GoW: Ragnarok.
Another day, another 'just wait till we get games article'. Whilst its fun to speculate what the deal might bring in the future, its not even approved yet, so this is just idle speculation at this point and in no way makes up for the percieved lack of compelling AAA content so far this year. If you love your indies and smaller titles, then your well covered regardless and probably dont care, but I have two freinds who are mainly xbox who've also bought an alternate system this year, just to increase their access to bigger titles. They should not have felt the need.
Im not sure how much change MS are going to bring to the activision/blizzard teams, their modus operandi having been a 'hands off' approach to management in the past. But Activision needs big changes, so it will require more than we've seen MS doing in the past. The culture needs a complete reversal to being inclusive and rewarding for the workers, otherwise MS simply become the new worst development house. Removing Kotick is merely the first step in turning the culture around, but they havent even committed to that yet. Im very hopeful that under new management some of the teams supporting COD will get a chance to spread their wings and get creative, so there's obviously potential for a great many projects to arise from this.
Interesting times, and theres no doubt we will see this bearing tasty fruit, but I suspect it will be a while before we get an avalanche of releases...
As for the suggestion you can buy out contracts when you are being assessed for using your financial position to stifle competition, thats clearly rediculous. The whole reason MS have talked about keeping many ips multi platform is to try and convince regulators they are not simply buying the market. Breaking already existing contracts is a clear red signal to regulators and whatever else you accuse MS of being, they are not that stupid. Get the deal accros the line first - then consider back tracking 😂
I very much hope this is all approved and MS appoint a very strong hand at the wheel with a clear mandate to make it a much better place to work. Enthused devs make better product and there are enough talented teams here that such an approach could result in fantastic games for us all to enjoy.
@Stoned_Patrol absolutely. If there’s a choice between not having cod on gamepass for the next two games or paying a bit extra to allow it to be on gamepass then they should definitely pay the extra…especially to get something big on gamepass this year. I’ve heard so many say they should invest in a AAA third party like saints row or Gotham knights…why do that if there’s a chance you can have cod on day 1 this holiday?
@Titntin If I was MS I’d invest in the ‘face-off’ treatment for Kotick. Like him or not, he knew how to make activision money.
I’m so sick of the ‘wait till next year’ ‘games are coming’…and these billions of dollars acquisitions meaning games still can’t come to Xbox for years (blows my mind we’ve still yet to see anything from Bethesda your zinimax as a whole since MS paid so much…yet PlayStation has 2 Bethesda games since). But this is the hole we dig for ourselves… just as the most vocal PlayStation supporters lap up £70 games and £10 upgrades. The most vocal Xbox supports support endless patience.
And it wouldn’t be quite so bad if games that are announced years in advance and then get delayed years further still we’re actually worth the wait, or came out fully baked.
Gamers have such short term memories… halo infinite misses the console launch, gets delayed a full year… we all go, ok…at least a delay means it will come out fully polished and complete…nearly a year after it’s release we’re still waiting for main gameplay things like co op, and forge…
I struggle to think of any other publisher that delays a game a whole year and still delivers it half baked and missing content…and then you remind yourself this is one of the richest companies in the world.
@Bleachedsmiles Lol at the face off idea! Im pretty sure that the making of money is not the primary concern here, so Kotick should be 'retired' whatever face he wears. I wish that could be 'retired' in a gangland way, but karma doesnt always work how you want 😂
I pretty much agree with all your other thoughts there though. I would add you dont need to be a ps fan to pay upgrade fees and 70 for games, just a gamer whos needs aren't met elsewhere.! I can afford it of course, but im not daft and wouldnt pay if I didnt have to. Same with my xbox, im not interested in waiting for the big titles I want to see, but ive three years of ultimate and ive no option but to wait for the titles I want to see 😀
@Titntin be funny to see the articles that would be written if the deal didn't go through I have no doubt it will but would be somewhat amusing something along the line of 'why Xbox doesn't need Activision to thrive' lol
@Would_you_kindly Absolutely true! I hope it does go through, my xbox needs feeding!
Im obviously in a minority but nothing Acivision makes has me at all interested
I hate COD and the campaigns they play terribly
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