Activision Blizzard Acquired By Xbox: What This Means For Console Exclusives

Xbox’ acquiring Activision Blizzard will have huge repercussions on the gaming industry, and here’s what it means.

Image via Activision Blizzard.

Xbox has officially closed the deal that welcomes Activision Blizzard into the Microsoft family, and the gaming market might not ever be the same. This is an industry-shaking deal that we won’t know the full effects of for years to come. Some of gaming’s most iconic titles – World of Warcraft, Diablo, Call of Duty – are in Xbox’s hands now.

In an age where console exclusivity had almost fully been abandoned, this change could be one that drastically tilts things back to the other side. We’ve already seen it happen with Starfield thanks to Xbox’s ownership of ZeniMax Media. This won’t spell doom for every new Activision Blizzard release, but it’s hard to imagine any company reportedly spending $68.7 Billion and not making a few changes.

Xbox’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard Explained

Image via Xbox.

So, what does this deal mean? All of your favorite Activision Blizzard games and franchises are now a part of Xbox. These publishers would previously negotiate deals that allowed fans to access their games via the iconic console, but now they’re just as integral to the company as the controller that comes standard with each box.

The sale was initiated on January 18, 2022, and sent shockwaves through the gaming world. Xbox had already made an aggressive play with the purchase of ZeniMax, and another juggernaut addition to the green-and-white brand immediately raised concerns over a potential monopolization of the gaming industry.

Xbox was already home to games such as Halo, Gears of War, Forza, and Fable (though these titles are also available on PC), so adding ABK’s star-studded lineup would put a heavy squeeze on the rest of the competition.

Europe’s Competition and Markets Authority was largely the face of the legal proceedings, though America’s Federal Trade Committee and a handful of other foreign governments also voiced concern and attempted to stand in the way of the deal. Things ultimately fell Xbox’s way, and on October 13, 2023, history was written.

What Xbox Now Owns: All Activision Blizzard Franchises

I’ve mentioned a few of the heavy hitters already, but there’s so much more to the Activision Blizzard catalog than just those things. Keep in mind that both of those names in the title were formerly separate entities themselves and only partnered together in 2008 when Activision purchased Blizzard for nearly $20 Billion.

Listing each game that’s now under Xbox’s control would be exhaustive. Instead, I’ve assembled a table that hits at the major players for both Activision and Blizzard.

Activision Blizzard Franchises
ActivisionCall of Duty, City Building, Crash Bandicoot, Empire Earth, Geometry Wars, Guitar Hero, King’s Quest, Pitfall!, Skylanders, Spyro, Tony Hawk, True Crime, Ultimate Soccer Manager, Zork, Cabela’s,
Blizzard Warcraft (WoW, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm) Diablo, StarCraft, Overwatch,

Essentially, Xbox now has a dragon’s hoard of successful franchises. While entries like the Tony Hawk series and Guitar Hero have been more dormant than others, Xbox representatives have already suggested that some of the legacy series are likely to see a return as the brand assumes control.

It’s impossible to say which ones will see an exclusive designation, but that likelihood has drastically increased for each of these titles. Xbox Game Pass makes this an intriguing prospect, as there’s nothing standing in the way of so many of these classics being added to the already jam-packed streaming library.

Will Call of Duty Become An Xbox Exclusive?

Modern Warfare 3's weapons are causing quite the stir.
Image via Activision.

For Call of Duty fans, Xbox’s head man Phil Spencer has confirmed that his team will continue to work with PlayStation and will not make CoD an exclusive title. Speaking on the Same Brain Podcast, he assured listeners that they “will have Call of Duty on PlayStation for as long as there is a PlayStation.”

Game Pass deserves another mention here, as we know that Xbox wants to add the older entries to the service as soon as they can.

There’s a little more ambiguity in the air with titles like Overwatch and Diablo, but with both being live-service franchises with recent releases, it’s likely we won’t know any more details on their fate for months (if not years) to come.