Microsoft has discussed its plans for Activision Blizzard’s games after its intended acquisition of the gaming giant, from how it won’t make multi-platform games exclusive, to its plans for putting titles into Game Pass.
Speaking during a briefing for media, Head of Xbox Game Studios, Matt Booty addressed the issue of exclusives, and tried to put fans’ minds at ease about existing multiplatform games they might love outside of Xbox:
“If we acquire a game that comes with a big community across a number of platforms,” Booty began, “the last thing we want to do is take something away. If anything, we feel that it’s our job to be caretakers, to be shepherds, to continue to build and nurture that community, not to cut it up into pieces and try to take some of it away.”
This appears to be Microsoft’s philosophy for existing games, and perhaps series, given we’ve heard that Xbox will release multiple new Call of Duty games as multiplatform titles (although it’s not clear if that will continue indefinitely). GM for Programming and Events Tina Summerford pointed to Xbox’s previous acquisition of Minecraft – and how that game has expanded across new platforms since the purchase – as proof of that philosophy.
However, Summerford did make clear that some games will be exclusive – these would presumably be brand new titles from Activision-Blizzard developers, rather than existing ones.
The philosophy for how Xbox will look at Activision-Blizzard games on Game Pass appears to be much more straightforward. Corporate Vice President, Sarah Bond put it simply: “We want to put as many titles as possible from Activision Blizzard into Game Pass when they join us.”
We’ve seen a similar move following Xbox’s acquisition of Bethesda, after which it put tens of Bethesda games into the subscription service. It feels likely we’ll see much the same – on both console and PC – if an when the acquisition goes through.
Microsoft announced its intention to buy Activision Blizzard in January, in a record-breaking $68.7 billion deal. The move has been approved by stockholders, but is currently under investigation by the FTC for antitrust purposes.
The Activision Blizzard acquisition comes at a time of ongoing turbulance within and around the company. The deal itself has prompted accusations of insider trading, but even more notable is the ongoing California lawsuit against the publisher accusing it of fostering a “frat boy culture” as well as subjecting female employees to unequal pay and sexual harassment. You can see a full timeline of events related to the lawsuit here.
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