In the wake of the Activision Blizzard FTC trial questions, games like World of Warcraft and Diablo coming to Xbox’s PC Game Pass library remains a hot topic. Will we finally see PC-exclusive WoW on console after all these years? There are a lot of questions and not a whole lot of answers yet – but a report from the European Commission’s official case documentation implies that we may see the MMORPG locked behind the Game Pass Ultimate subscription.
On page 161 of the document, dated May 15 2023, the European Commission states that “post-transaction, Activision Blizzard’s games will likely be included in Game Pass Ultimate only, as opposed to (and to the exclusion of) other providers of cloud game streaming, enhancing the significance of Game Pass Ultimate significantly.”
This is followed by “the Commission considers that access to cloud game streaming services, and in particular to Microsoft’s Game Pass Ultimate strongly enhanced by Activision Blizzard’s games post-Transaction, will be important for providers of rival PC OS to expand and compete vigorously with Windows.”
Interestingly, the document also notes that, if the merger does not take place, “Activision Blizzard would likely have started licensing its games to several providers of cloud game streaming services.” So, merger or no merger, it looks like the company has considered putting WoW, Diablo, Call of Duty, and Overwatch on Game Pass already.
This appears to go against a recent statement from Blizzard president Mike ‘Qwik’ Ybarra, where he shuts down rumors of Diablo 4 on Game Pass. That may mean that this document is either out of date or simply that Diablo 4 will be reserved as a Battle.net exclusive for a little longer. After all, it has just come out, so it makes more sense to port over Diablo 2 Resurrected, Diablo 3, Overwatch 2, and WoW first.
How Game Pass Ultimate will interact with Blizzard bringing Overwatch 2 to Steam – and apparently following up with other games – is also interesting. Obviously, Game Pass ‘loans’ you the game, so you’re often better off picking it up for yourself and owning it outright, but the flip side is that you just don’t have to.
I, for one, already own all of Activision Blizzard’s games, so this situation doesn’t really affect me. What does bother me, though, is logging into World of Warcraft without the best WoW addons, which I really need to re-install. Then, I absolutely need to check through our WoW Dragonflight tier list to find a new spec – it’s not a good day to be a Holy Priest, trust me.