Microsoft intends to buy Activision Blizzard, and pending regulatory approvals, in a few years’ time we’re going to see World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, and Candy Crush promoted as first-party Xbox games. It might seem obvious that the head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, wants to get even more people playing these games, but the man himself explained some of his hopes for the deal in a new interview.
“I want more people to be playing WoW in five years than are playing today,” Spencer tells journalist Stephen Totilo. “I want more people to be playing Call of Duty in five years, more people to be playing Candy Crush in five years, because we’ve made it more accessible to more people.”
So what does “more accessible to more people” mean? Spencer is far from confirming a WoW: Consoler Edition or anything of the sort here, but given Xbox’s increasingly platform-agnostic approach to distributing games, you could see it happening. And in a world where just about everything Microsoft puts out is available for cloud streaming, the distinction might be moot anyway.
“I grew up at a time where Blizzard was almost as synonymous as Pixar in terms of quality,” Spencer says a bit later. “That’s where I aspire those brands to get to, and I’d love the opportunity to go work with creative teams to make that possible.”
In July 2021, the state of California filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard alleging years of workplace discrimination and harassment. The story has since embroiled CEO Bobby Kotick and prompted the US federal government to open an investigation. It continues to unfold and to be of immense importance to the game industry. You can catch up on all the developments so far in this regularly updated explainer article.
For now, besides our continued wait for the Overwatch 2 release date and Diablo 4 release date, we know that Blizzard is at work on an as-yet-untitled survival game.