Microsoft just acquired Blizzard/Activision in game changing mood, but will Call of Duty, Overwatch series now be a Xbox exclusive?
The fallout of the Activision/Blizzard acquisition announcement has yet to settle, but the question people are dying to know is whether games like Call of Duty and Overwatch will now be Xbox exclusives. What will happen with BattleNet? Here is what is most likely to happen in the near future.
As a result of the acquisition, which Microsoft revealed will cost $95.00 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion, Xbox will now have exclusive ownership of popular game series such as Call of Duty, Warcraft, Overwatch, and many others.
Along with the addition of studios such as Infinity Ward, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, Toys for Bob, and Treyarch, Microsoft’s first-party roster now stands at 30 studios. The company also adds additional publishing and esports production capabilities, as well as a significant presence in mobile gaming with the acquisition of Candy Crush maker King, among other things.
Microsoft’s head of gaming Phil Spencer said in a statement:
“We are incredibly excited to have the chance to work with the amazing, talented, dedicated people across Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment, Beenox, Demonware, Digital Legends, High Moon Studios, Infinity Ward, King, Major League Gaming, Radical Entertainment, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, Toys for Bob, Treyarch and every team across Activision Blizzard.
“Until this transaction closes, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently. Once the deal is complete, the Activision Blizzard business will report to me as CEO, Microsoft Gaming.”
He concluded: “The fantastic franchises across Activision Blizzard will also accelerate our plans for Cloud Gaming, allowing more people in more places around the world to participate in the Xbox community using phones, tablets, laptops and other devices you already own. Activision Blizzard games are enjoyed on a variety of platforms and we plan to continue to support those communities moving forward.”
In the event that all closing conditions are met and all regulatory review requirements have been satisfied, the transaction is scheduled to conclude in Microsoft’s fiscal year 2023. The deal has been approved by the boards of directors of both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. Microsoft is the parent company of Activision Blizzard. It has been suggested, however, that the United States government may object to the plan.
Sony to request government review.
It is likely that Sony will request a review of the ethical nature of the deal with the Federal Trade Commission and doesn’t violate antitrust laws.
Anticompetitive mergers and acquisitions are prohibited under US antitrust law. The Hart-Scott-Rodino Act requires the FTC and the DOJ to assess most proposed transactions affecting US commerce over a particular size, and any agency can take legal action to prevent acquisitions that “substantially decrease competition.” While there are certain exceptions, most laws require corporations to notify any acquisition worth more than $92 million to the government for consideration.
However, if the acquisition does not violate antitrust laws, some of entertainment’s most popular assets might remain exclusive to Xbox systems and future releases would be available on the Xbox Game Pass subscription service as soon as they are released.
Will CoD and Overwatch be Xbox exclusive?
No. It is highly unlikely that any Activision/Multiplayer game that currently utilises cross-play will become console exclusive.
Games like Call of Duty and Overwatch benefit greatly from their massive player bases thanks to cross-play, or cross-platform playability. Gamers can’t compete against each other no matter what they play on, be it Xbox, PlayStation or even PC.
Unlike Starfield and The Elder Scrolls: Hammerfell, which were confirmed to be Xbox/Windows exclusives after the Bethesda acquisition, Activision’s flagship shooter will most likely not be.
All Activision Blizzard games available on Game Pass.
On that note, we are certain that the entire backlog of Activision/Blizzard games will be made available on the Xbox Game Pass once the deal is finalised.
In addition, any future game, such as Overwatch 2 and the next instalment of Call of Duty will be downloadable and playable from day one to all members.
The future of Battle.Net
The most exciting prospect is that BattleNet will now be officially recognized as a Microsoft/Xbox property, which means that it will operate in a similar manner to Game Pass Ultimate and that gamers will no longer be required to purchase Activision/Blizzard titles a second time if they wish to play on PC or Xbox consoles.
BattleNet purchases are likely to transfer over to your Microsoft account, and digital Xbox games from Activision/Blizzard are likely to transfer over to BattleNet as well, owing to Microsoft’s Xbox Play Anywhere program.
Xbox Play Anywhere is a special label given to select video games released on Microsoft’s Xbox consoles and Windows 10 PCs. Buying a game with the Xbox Play Anywhere label on Xbox consoles will unlock it for free on Windows 10 devices and vice versa