We know Call of Duty is often the focus when it comes to talking about the Xbox deal with Activision Blizzard, but that’s more of an Activision IP than a Blizzard one. So, what about those Blizzard IPs like Diablo, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch? What does the future look like for Blizzard under Xbox? Well, to no-one’s surprise, life at Blizzard after the Microsoft deal is looking bright – according to the Blizzard president, anyway.
Following Microsoft’s huge $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard King and Xbox’s new leadership structure reveal, Blizzard president Mike Ybarra is sitting down with IGN to discuss what the studio will look like under Xbox and – as you might imagine – it all sounds like good news, so far. With so many new Xbox games already on the way, it sounds like Blizzard “is only going to be stronger” under Xbox, with increased autonomy for development teams and “the same ambition” present.
What those ambitions are, though, are vague – and Ybarra’s comments on the fact that Blizzard is culture-focused (like Xbox) seem to ignore the reports of rampant sexism and the “culture of harassment” at Activision Blizzard that still somewhat plague the studio to this day.
Still, the future is looking bright for players who enjoy Blizzard games – Ybarra is making sure to stress that much. This, though, is unsurprising when you think about the fact that Ybarra spent over 20 years with Xbox before joining Blizzard in 2019.
With Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer explaining that Xbox is all about “enabling the creativity” of Blizzard’s development teams during a keynote speech at BlizzCon 2023, Ybarra is confident that the “big plans” it has are in safe hands with Xbox. This doesn’t just mean plans for existing IPs, though, but “the new and the unseen, as well”.
As you can see below, in the full clip of IGN’s chat with Ybarra, it’s still a little early to talk collaborations between Blizzard and Xbox Game Studios. However, that doesn’t mean we’ll never see something like that in the future.
The rest of the conversation with Ybarra, though, is fluff and filler. It’s too early to tell how impactful the Microsoft acquisition will be and how influential Xbox will be when it comes to the future for this developer. What we do know, though, is that there’s a lot to look forward to – with three World of Warcraft expansions, a Diablo 4 expansion, and the future of Overwatch 2 laid out during BlizzCon 2023.
Will you see Blizzard titles among the best Xbox Game Pass games available in the future? Well, while we do think that’s very likely, you might have to wait a little while to see something like Diablo 4 on Game Pass. Xbox’s work to bring Activision Blizzard titles to Game Pass has already begun, but it’s a long process that could take years to complete.