If Microsoft's ABK deal closes, will Diablo 4 come to Xbox Game Pass?
At the moment, all signs point to "no" due to comments from Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, although that could change in the future. Still, if you're hoping to play it, I wouldn't count on Diablo 4 coming to Game Pass.
Activision CEO: 'I don’t agree with the idea'
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With the U.S. federal Judge Corley ruling in Microsoft's favor at the conclusion of the courtroom battle between the Redmond firm and the Federal Trade Commission and Activision Blizzard planning to leave the stock exchange, it looks increasingly likely that the ABK deal will close. If it does, many Xbox fans are understandably hoping to see Diablo 4 — Blizzard's biggest game in years, and one of 2023's best titles — come to Microsoft's all-you-can-eat Xbox Game Pass subscription service.
However, it's very unlikely that this will happen. This is because during the aforementioned hearing, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick made comments that indicate his dislike of services like Game Pass, and confirm that his company isn't interested in putting its games on them.
“I have a general aversion to the idea of multi-game subscription services," Kotick said. "Maybe part of it is being in Los Angeles and having large, big media companies move their content to these subscription streaming services and the business results have suffered.”
Though Activision Blizzard has "experimented with a few streaming services" and even considered putting its games on Game Pass in 2020, Kotick noted that he has no plans to do so moving forward. "I don’t agree with the idea of a multi-game subscription service as a business proposition going forwards, but we [Activision and Microsoft] can agree to disagree," he concluded during Xbox vs. FTC hearing.
The good news is that Diablo 4 is available to purchase and play now on a variety of Xbox consoles, including Xbox One systems, the Xbox Series X, and the Xbox Series S. The Ultimate Edition of the game is the most complete one available, as it includes a spread of exclusive cosmetic rewards, access to the Season of the Malignant Premium Battle Pass, and 20 Battle Pass tier skips.
Diablo 4: Ultimate Edition
The Ultimate Sacrifice from your wallet to our Blessed Mother, the Ultimate Edition of Diablo 4 comes with a bunch of cosmetics, the Premium Battle Pass and 20 tier skips for you to enjoy. It's the best way to get access to everything the game has to offer if you're jumping in now.
Diablo 4 could come to Game Pass in the future
While you definitely shouldn't expect Diablo 4 to become available on Xbox Game Pass at some point, that doesn't mean that there's not a chance it could happen. During Kotick's testimony, it was pointed out that Activision Blizzard hasn't made an official, formal decision about putting its games on subscription services, and Kotick himself stated that the company would "evaluate" future proposals.
Also, a January 2022 report suggested that Bobby Kotick will step down if Microsoft's Activision Blizzard merger closes. It's unclear if this plan has changed since then, but if Kotick does still intend to leave the company, we may see Activision's policy on services like Game Pass change.
Even though there are reasons to be hopeful, though, I don't think you should wait. Diablo 4 is a stellar ARPG with a rich story, gorgeous visuals and audio, and plenty of opportunities for character buildcrafting. Even without content from the game's upcoming live service seasons, it's more than worth the asking price.
In his Diablo 4 review, Windows Central Managing Editor Jez Corden said it "may be Blizzard's best-ever game, and that's a really tough legacy to live up to." Though its reuse of enemies and dungeon layouts gets a little irksome at times and its keybind customization could be better on console, "Diablo 4 is a landmark action RPG experience from start to finish — with a story that will impact you, characters you will adore, and gameplay that will relentlessly gratify." I hope you're ready for a bloody good time.
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If the acquisition goes through though, it won't necessarily be up to Kotick, right?Reply
I don't actually disagree with him: for big one-time purchases, the all-you-can-eat model tends to be good for the customers who would have otherwise spent a lot (the biggest consumers) and not so good for the content creators. It's different for music, where there's a tendency to play the same songs multiple times and piracy was incredibly easy.
But the calculus is different for different companies. If MS determines it's a net win to lose some of those sales dollars but increase overall Game Pass subscriptions and maybe even Xbox sales, then they should do it, regardless of what Kotick thinks (unless part of the acquisition terms leave him with authority over this decision).
Personally, I'm not on Game Pass, but will be as soon as the Family Plan comes to the U.S. For me, it's not the games, it's the terms. I need the Family Plan for it to make sense for my clan.