Unless the FTC's Lina Khan runs in at the last minute to physically tackle Bobby Kotick before he can sign anything, it's looking very likely that Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard will close in the very near future. I mean very near, you understand, as in possibly this Friday, pending word from the UK market regulator. But if you think that heralds the imminent arrival of games like Modern Warfare 3 and Diablo 4 on Microsoft's Game Pass service, Activision has news for you: It doesn't.
Not this year, anyway. In a tweet from yesterday, Activision told fans to cool their jets when it comes to $17/£13 a month access to its latest games, announcing that it "[does] not have plans to put Modern Warfare 3 or Diablo 4 into Game Pass this year". Instead, Activision expects "to start working with Xbox to bring our titles to more players around the world" once the deal actually closes, meaning the corporation expects to "begin adding games into Game Pass sometime in the course of next year."
It’s awesome to see anticipation building for Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® III. As we continue to work toward regulatory approval of the Microsoft deal, we’ve been getting some questions whether our upcoming and recently launched games will be available via Game Pass.While we…October 9, 2023
In other words, yes, you can expect to fork over full price for Modern Warfare 3 if you want to play it when it comes out on November 10.
That strikes me as a little odd. We've known that COD might face a delay coming to Game Pass ever since the UK market regulator let slip (via The Verge's Tom Warren) that the series would likely be arriving on the service all the way out in 2025, possibly because of pre-existing deals with Sony. But I'm not sure what the difference is between Diablo, or any other Activision Blizzard game, and the 20 Bethesda games that hit Game Pass on March 12, 2021, three days after Microsoft closed its acquisition of Zenimax.
I've reached out to Activision to ask about that, and I'll update if I hear back.
The long, long, very long saga of Microsoft's Activision buyout seemed to reach its inevitable conclusion last month, when the UK's Competition and Markets Authority voiced its approval of a restructured version of the deal that sold off Activision's cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft, placating the body's fears that the move would lead to a Microsoft monopoly in the cloud gaming arena. Me personally? I'm still a tad nervous about what all this consolidation means for the industry as a whole, but I suppose that—literally just that—is why I don't run a national market authority.
Correction: This piece originally said 20 Bethesda games came to Game Pass on March 11, 2021. They actually arrived a day later, on March 12. This has now been amended.