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Microsoft wants Activision Blizzard's games to come to its Game Pass service eventually, but Diablo IV won't be the first title from the publisher to start that trend.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

March 13, 2023

2 Min Read
Cover art of Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo IV, featuring the game's main antagonist Lilith.

Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo 4 will launch in June, but not on Xbox Game Pass. 

On Twitter, general manager Rod Fergusson addressed questions about the game's release status, and said that there were currently "no plans" to put it on the subscription service. 

It's a question worth asking, as it ties back to Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard. In 2022, Xbox chief Phil Spencer made it clear that, should the merger go through, the publisher's titles like Overwatch 2 and a future Call of Duty game would eventually end up on Game Pass. 

With Diablo IV currently off the table for the service, it means anyone who plays will have to pay for it at the launch price of $70.

Game Pass isn't what Diablo IV needs at the moment

For years, Xbox has released high-profile third-party games on Game Pass the same day as their retail releases. But even as it's done so and Spencer has called it a "profitable" part of Microsoft's business that also helps game sales, recent numbers show that the profits aren't exactly equal. 

This past February, a UK regulator looking into Microsoft's service found that games tend to suffer when Game Pass is thrown into the equation. At the time, it was found that the sales of a title will fall "twelve months following their addition on Game Pass."

Diablo IV has been in fluctuating stages of development for years, and will be the first fully new entry in the series in over a decade. Towards the end of 2022, reports alleged that developers working on the RPG aren't fully proud of the final product, and have some trepidation about how it'll ultimately be received.

So it's perhaps understandable that Blizzard didn't want to have its sales outlook further impacted by the subscription service of the company currently trying to buy it up. 

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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