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Xbox Game Pass won't see any surprise Activision Blizzard drops this year, Phil Spencer says

Don't expect “some kind of secret celebration drop” in the coming weeks

An assortment of characters from Activision Blizzard games.
Image credit: VG247/Activision Blizzard

Xbox boss Phil Spencer has said that players shouldn’t expect to see a flood of Activision Blizzard games arrive on Game Pass before this year is out.

Naturally, following the confirmation on October 13 (complete with trailer) that Microsoft has officially closed its deal to acquire ActiBlizz, there’s been a lot of chatter about when the publisher’s titles could begin to show up on the lauded Game Pass service. However, in a recent appearance on the official Xbox Podcast, Spencer confirmed that there will be no surprise addition of Activision Blizzard games to Game Pass before this year is out, with nothing being set to arrive until 2024.

In response to a question addressing the almost immediate addition of many Bethesda titles to Game Pass following Microsoft's acquisition of Zenimax Media back in 2021, Spencer said: “I would love it if there was some kind of secret celebration drop that’s coming in the next couple of weeks — there’s not.”

He explained that the situation with regards to undertaking the work required to add games to the service following the deal’s closure has been different this time around, saying: “The truth of the matter is, with Activision Blizzard King, that the regulatory process took so long and frankly there was a lot of uncertainty in that process…that we that we weren’t able to get in and work with the [teams], Activision and Blizzard in this case, on that back catalog work.”

Spencer stated regarding a recent tweet from the official Activision Blizzard account which suggested that the Call of Duty and Diablo publisher expects to begin adding its games to Game Pass in 2024, “I think that’s accurate.”

“This acquisition is definitely long-term, 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,” Microsoft’s head of gaming went on to say, “but I’m very excited about the future. And I just want to be straight with people that that’s where we are.”

Later in the podcast, Spencer described the amount of popular series that Xbox has in its portfolio following the acquisition as “kind of inspiring” as well as being “daunting”.

He added: “I feel we have to be a great custodian for the content that we touch. These are memories from people on different platforms, different decades, and I want to make sure that when we’re going back and visiting something that we do it with our complete ability.”

But while you'll have to wait a while longer to get ActiBlizz titles on Game Pass, that doesn't mean there's nothing new to play. Like a Dragon: Ishin, Dead Space and Cities Skylines 2 are all coming in October.

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