Xbox boss says "what could happen" to dormant Activision Blizzard franchises like StarCraft is "pretty exciting"

StarCraft II
(Image credit: Blizzard)

Xbox boss Phil Spencer says he's "excited" to sit down with the teams at Activision, Blizzard, and King to talk about "back catalogs" and reviving franchises like StarCraft should Xbox's acquisition of Activision Blizzard proceed.

In an interview with Wired, Spencer was understandably cautious - "I'm not allowed to make any decisions about what happens at Blizzard or Activision or King" - but did admit that whilst he didn't have any "concrete plans", "StarCraft was a seminal moment in gaming".

"This is all just kind of talking and thinking about what the opportunity is, but you're absolutely right," Spencer said (thanks, NME). "Not only StarCraft, but WarCraft, when you think about the heritage of RTS games that we're talking about here, specifically from Blizzard. And I don't have any concrete plans today because I can't really get in and work with the teams. But StarCraft was a seminal moment in gaming, right? From an esports perspective, from RTS on console perspective, and from just an RTS storytelling perspective in the genre. 

"And I'm excited about getting to sit down with the teams at Activision and Blizzard and King to talk about back catalog and opportunities that we might have," Spencer added. "So I will dodge the question other than to say it's not something I can actively work on right now. 

"But the thought of being able to think about what could happen with those franchises is pretty exciting to me, as somebody who spent a lot of hours playing those games."

Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard, the publisher and associated developer of many titles including the Call of Duty franchise. Microsoft says Activision Blizzard will operate independently until the deal is complete, but Phil Spencer did note that once the deal is complete, the business will report to him. 

The deal faces scrutiny from governmental regulators around the world, however, including in the US and the UK with the latter's Competition and Markets Authority recently expressing concern that the deal "could substantially lessen competition in gaming consoles."

However, Microsoft refutes Sony's argument that Xbox buying Activision Blizzard would be harmful to competition. Microsoft also built a whole webpage arguing that the buyout is actually good for players, creators, and the gaming industry at large. 

"I'm pretty confident in the deal closing," Spencer recently said. "I think [regulators] are asking good, honest questions about a big deal ... it's definitely the biggest deal I've ever done." He later added that he's "confident and excited" in spite of the fact that the transaction "keeps [him] up at night sometimes."

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Vikki Blake
Weekend Reporter, GamesRadar+

Vikki Blake is GamesRadar+'s Weekend Reporter. Vikki works tirelessly to ensure that you have something to read on the days of the week beginning with 'S', and can also be found contributing to outlets including the BBC, Eurogamer, and Vikki also runs a weekly games column at NME, and can be frequently found talking about Destiny 2 and Silent Hill on Twitter.