Microsoft successfully completed its long-anticipated acquisition of Activision Blizzard last Friday, concluding a captivating journey that began in January 2022, filled with dramatic twists and turns.
At the initial merger announcement, Phil Spencer pledged that Microsoft would eventually make Activision Blizzard’s games available on the Game Pass subscription service, a strategy akin to what users saw with the previous acquisition of Bethesda. However, this won’t occur in the near future, as Spencer has indicated that it will take several months to implement.
During an episode of the official Xbox Podcast, the CEO of Microsoft Gaming elaborated that the reason for the delay stems from the uncertainty that persisted until the final stages of the Activision Blizzard deal. Consequently, the groundwork is just commencing, which contrasts with the Bethesda acquisition, where significant regulatory obstacles were absent.
“When we finished the Bethesda acquisition, there was this great moment. We were able to put a bunch of the back catalog games [on Game Pass] and celebrate their history. The truth of the matter is that, with Activision Blizzard King, the regulatory process took so long.
And frankly, there was a lot of uncertainty in that process up until really a week before we closed, or the week of, when the CMA finally came down to their decision, that we weren’t able to get on that back catalog work. So now that the deal is closed, we’re starting that work.
But there is work. And I think the Activision Twitter handle did put out a statement that talked about 2024. I think that’s accurate. I would love it if there was some kind of secret celebration drop coming in the next couple of weeks. There’s not.
Definitely, when we think about the new games that are there, I would be straight with people. If we were going to put them in the subscription this year, I would tell people. And I know there’ll be some disappointment about that.
This acquisition is definitely long-term for Microsoft, 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.”
In the course of the Xbox Podcast, the CEO of Microsoft Gaming shared that he has plans to travel to Stockholm to meet with the King team. Additionally, he has scheduled appointments with Activision and Blizzard for the following week, marking his first opportunities to meet with these companies in his new leadership role.