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Another revelation during the Xbox business update was that Diablo 4 will be coming to Game Pass. Although Xbox brought dozens of Bethesda titles to Game Pass, days after the historic $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, it has yet to do so for games under the Blizzard label.

Diablo 4 Is First Activision Blizzard Game To Come To Game Pass Which Now Has 34 Million Subscribers

Last year, Xbox boss Phil Spencer told Xbox players not to expect Activision Blizzard titles on Game Pass immediately after the acquisition. The confirmation that Diablo 4 will be coming to Game Pass was made by Xbo President Sarah Bond during a business update podcast held on February 15, 2024.

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Bond revealed that the game will be coming to the streaming service on March 28, about five months after the historic acquisition of Activision Blizzard in October 2023. Diablo 4 will be coming to Game Pass 9 months after its release. It is important to mention that some Bethesda titles including Starfield came to Game Pass on launch day.

“I’m excited to announce, with the coming together that we had with Activision Blizzard King, that Activision Blizzard games are coming to Game Pass starting with Diablo 4 on March 28, which I’m super, super excited to share today,” Bond said.

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Diablo 4 reached 12 million players in the first month of its release. On Metacritic, the game had mostly favorable reviews. It earned the highest score of 91 on Xbox Series X, 87 on PS5, and 86 on PC. According to Blizzard, Diablo 4 sold the most copies in the series within the shortest space of time.

Will Diablo 4 and other Activision Blizzard titles help push up Game Pass subscriptions?

Diablo 4 Is First Activision Blizzard Game To Come To Game Pass Which Now Has 34 Million Subscribers

The number of Xbox Game Pass subscribers has been a thing of mystery since Xbox stopped reporting it a while ago. Thanks to the Business Update podcast, we now know that there are 34 million fully paid Game Pass subscribers.

“It’s all part of our commitment to make Xbox, the Xbox experience, and the games that we build as widely available as possible. So now the 34 million Game Pass members can all enjoy the fantastic experience of Diablo 4,” Bond said.

Spencer elaborated more on the figure during an interview with Stephen Totilo’s Game File newsletter. “That’s fully paid,” he said. “So those are not promotional players. Those are people, fully paid subs.”

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Totilo probed further on what may have inspired the growth in Xbox Game Pass subscription. The journalist asked if the rebranding of Xbox Live Gold last year to Xbox Game Pass Core had something to do with the explosion of subscribers. The rebranding turned Xbox Gold subscribers into Game Pass subscribers.

In response, Spencer said that only “a small number” of players who had Xbox Live Gold but not Game Pass were added to the count. The Xbox boss attributed the subscriber growth to more players on the cloud and PC.

Diablo 4 Is First Activision Blizzard Game To Come To Game Pass Which Now Has 34 Million Subscribers

“When there’s a fixed number of console players on the planet, you’re not going to grow Game Pass forever by shipping just on consoles,” he said. “So, we’re seeing really significant growth on PC, which is great, and cloud.”

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Game Pass and other similar subscriptions like PlayStation Plus are touted as the future of gaming. However, not all developers agree with that. The CEO of Larian Studios Swen Vincke is one of those who strongly oppose that business model and has declined all advances from Xbox to bring Baldur’s Gate 3 to Game Pass. Vincke believes a game’s worth is when players purchase them.

No doubt, game subscription services like Game Pass will continue to be attractive if they get AAA releases on launch day. However, if players have to wait for months or years to get new releases on subscription services, we strongly doubt if that will help to move the needle in the number of subscribers.


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