Microsoft has recently acquired Activision Blizzard in a groundbreaking deal worth a staggering $68.7 billion. This acquisition puts Microsoft in ownership of many significant gaming franchises, including the beloved Call of Duty series. With the highly anticipated release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 just around the corner, gamers worldwide are eagerly awaiting news on when these games will be available on Game Pass, Microsoft’s popular subscription service for Xbox and PC.
The Waiting Game
Thankfully, some information has come to light. Activision Blizzard, wanting to address speculation ahead of the deal’s completion, announced on October 9 that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and another highly anticipated game, Diablo 4, would not be joining Game Pass “this year.” However, they did reveal plans to start adding games to Game Pass in 2024.
“While we do not have plans to put Modern Warfare III or Diablo IV into Game Pass this year, once the deal closes, we expect to start working with Xbox to bring our titles to more players around the world. And we anticipate that we would begin adding games into Game Pass sometime in the course of next year,” Activision Blizzard stated.
Xbox chief Phil Spencer further confirmed this timeline on the official Xbox podcast on October 17. He explained that due to the lengthy regulatory process, they were unable to collaborate with Activision Blizzard on the back catalog work. Nevertheless, with the deal now closed, they are beginning that process, though it will take time. Spencer acknowledged the disappointment of not having a slew of games dropping onto Game Pass from day one but expressed excitement for the future.
The Road Ahead
While the wording from Activision Blizzard does not explicitly confirm the inclusion of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Diablo 4 on Game Pass in 2024, it certainly leaves room for speculation. Taking cues from the past, we can anticipate that older Call of Duty titles, such as the previous two Modern Warfare games, may join the service earlier, possibly in early 2024. Recent releases may need to wait a bit longer.
Activision Blizzard’s established marketing and business plan for the Call of Duty franchise, which typically operates on an annual schedule, may influence the release timing on Game Pass. Microsoft will likely respect the existing arrangements and synchronize the arrival of Modern Warfare 3 on Game Pass with next year’s Call of Duty release, making it a dual celebration.
Beyond Call of Duty
Apart from Call of Duty, other popular Activision Blizzard games like Diablo, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch also raise questions about their presence on Game Pass. While Diablo 4 may not make an immediate appearance, earlier Diablo games like Diablo 3 and Diablo 2: Resurrected could be strong candidates for the initial batch of back-catalog titles added to the subscription.
World of Warcraft’s situation is a bit more complex. As the game approaches its 20th anniversary in 2024, it continues to maintain a dedicated player base paying a monthly subscription fee. Microsoft faces a tough decision in terms of potentially disrupting this revenue stream. Therefore, it may take some time before we see World of Warcraft on Game Pass, if at all.
On the other hand, Overwatch 2, being a free-to-play game, presents a different scenario. Game Pass subscribers have already received perks for the title, including immediate unlocks for certain heroes. It is highly likely that more Overwatch 2 perks will be added to Game Pass early in 2024.
With Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard now complete, the gaming community can look forward to exciting developments on Game Pass. While we might have to exercise patience for some titles, the prospect of experiencing beloved franchises on the subscription service is undoubtedly thrilling. Keep an eye out for updates and prepare for an incredible lineup of games in the years to come!