The official Overwatch 2 announcement trailer was released two years ago.

Certain titles, though, need to find a wide enough audience to be considered a commercial success, so I don’t expect Call of Duty or Overwatch will become Xbox exclusives unless Microsoft figures that enough people will swap platforms or sign up for Xbox Game Pass, which now has 25 million subscribers, to justify a significant decline in overall sales.


This is all speculation, of course. We can turn to Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Bethesda for hard evidence, and let me preface this by warning my fellow PS5 owners: The future looks bleak. We already know the upcoming blockbuster Starfield will be an Xbox-exclusive when it launches late this year, and Spencer also suggested The Elder Scrolls VI will only be playable on Xbox and PC. We can therefore use the transitive property to conclude that many of Activision Blizzard’s current IPs will be made exclusive to Xbox and PC unless those pesky regulators have something to say about it.

What About the Metaverse?

Microsoft says this acquisition could help build the metaverse. Cue the collective eye-rolling.


For those who have somehow avoided 2022's most obnoxious buzzword, the metaverse is a theoretical future where the physical world is augmented by virtual spaces enabled by virtual, augmented, and mixed reality. If you’ve read or watched Ready Player One then you have an idea of what it might look like, though a world that has descended into dystopian chaos, I presume (but can’t say for sure), isn’t part of the plan.

“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” Microsoft CEO Nadella said. “We’re investing deeply in world-class content, community, and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive, and accessible to all.”


The metaverse is considered by some to be the inevitable replacement to the internet, but for now, it’s a place for billionaires who are bored of Earth—the same flock using its bottomless streams of cash not to fix our planet but to literally leave it behind.

Microsoft’s commitment to the metaverse is discouraging and distracts the millions of gamers who are more interested in seeing Activision’s beloved franchises given new life when a path to recovery seemed unlikely amidst the publisher’s crumbling walls. There is no guarantee that the metaverse will fail to become realized, but what’s clear is that we’re many years, if not decades away from the grand vision tech companies have been pushing endlessly for months now. To put it bluntly, Microsoft has too much on its plate to start thinking about how Activision Blizzard can enable this proposed successor to the internet.


The Stakes Are High

It’s much too early to declare winners and losers in this acquisition, but it’s hard to envision a different path out of the turmoil Activision Blizzard finds itself in. With a parent company like Microsoft, Activision Blizzard can cut its losses and work under new management that will hopefully create an inclusive workplace and get some of the most cherished PC and console franchises back on track.


If it does so, purchasing Activision Blizzard could give Microsoft the firepower it needs to eventually overtake Sony in the console wars by expanding its already sizable video game portfolio. Bringing these games to Game Pass will make the subscription service even more compelling to gamers, while releasing new games exclusively on Xbox could encourage, or more accurately force, gamers to move from Sony’s PS5 to Microsoft’s Xbox platform.

But the risks are as high as the rewards. Microsoft will soon inherit the mess Activision leaves behind, and if it can’t resolve the growing list of problems at the embattled game studio, then Microsoft might blow its own reputation—along with $70 billion.