Activision Blizzard says it will start adding games to Xbox Game Pass next year, if the Microsoft deal closes. Microsoft is currently targeting to close its proposed Activision Blizzard deal on Friday, pending approval from a UK regulator.
In a strangely timed and vague post on X (formerly Twitter) Activision Blizzard makes it clear to Xbox fans that both Modern Warfare III and Diablo IV won’t be part of Xbox Game Pass in 2023.
“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,” says the statement from Activision Blizzard. “And we anticipate that we would begin adding games into Game Pass sometime in the course of next year.”
The statement mentions Xbox fan questions around “whether our upcoming and recently launched games (emphasis ours) will be available via Game Pass,” but it doesn’t address the many existing Activision Blizzard games that were launched years ago and could be added to Game Pass sooner. Activision has a huge back catalog of existing Call of Duty games that many expect will be part of Xbox Game Pass.
Microsoft went out of its way to fix classic classic Xbox 360 Call of Duty titles in July, just ahead of the original deal deadline, after players had been complaining for years about not being able to matchmake in games like Call of Duty: Black Ops and the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. It can’t be pure coincidence that these Call of Duty games were suddenly fixed just as Microsoft was preparing for the final stages of its proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition.
Either way, it’s clear we won’t see recent Activision Blizzard releases on Xbox Game Pass this year, providing Microsoft’s deal closes before the October 18th deadline. Activision Blizzard still has an exclusive marketing deal with Sony for Call of Duty, too. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) previously said that new versions of Call of Duty wouldn’t arrive on Xbox Game Pass until 2025 because of Sony’s deal, but it’s not clear exactly when that exclusivity ends now that Microsoft and Sony signed a fresh 10-year Call of Duty deal recently.