Diablo 4 Fixing Bad Menu Tricking Fans Into Buying Battle Pass

Demons try to sell players more battle passes.

Image: Blizzard

Diablo IV’s first season got off to a rocky start following a disastrous patch that nerfed a bunch of characters and builds, but some other, much smaller issues have drawn fan criticism as well, including a battle pass layout that has tricked some players into accidentally buying the premium version. Blizzard’s now rolling out a fix after one player accused the company of employing a “dark pattern” design to trick players.

“So Blizzard placed the ‘Activate Premium Battle Pass’ button right next to the button you have to constantly press to check your Season Journey,” wrote streamer Rurikhan in a tweet that blew up on July 20. “Guess what happened to me and at least 5 others on my stream. This is straight up Malicious Design.”

A clip accompanying the post showed the content creator accidently redeeming the season 1 paid battle bass using his freebie from the Deluxe version of the game. Players are constantly using the season tab on the menu to check their seasonal progress, and the location of the “Activate Premium Battle Pass” button makes it extremely easy to tap it unintentionally. There’s no pop-up giving players a chance to back out of the redemption either.

“When a UI element is designed to trick you into clicking it, it’s called a ‘dark pattern,’ commented gaming YouTube Rhykker in the thread. “IMO Blizzard needs to add a confirm button or something if they don’t want to be accused of using dark patterns. Simple ‘confirm’ pop-up would fix this.”

Others challenged why Rurikhan was upset. After all, it wasn’t a completely new purchase he had made, but an accidental use of his existing freebie. Blizzard probably assumed most players would be using it on Season of the Malignant. Not Rurikhan, however. “I was saving my battle pass for a future season since I don’t have time to commit to this one,” he tweeted.

But it didn’t take Blizzard long to address the complaint and a fix is now expected to roll out soon. “Just had a powwow with people on this post stream,” tweeted Diablo IV community manager Adam Fletcher. “We have a temp fix in the works that will at least ensure the cursor isn’t defaulted there and will instead be defaulted on Season Journey.” At least one player claims they were still denied a refund request after accidentally activating the premium battle pass.

While not the end of the world, it’s easy to see why players would hone in on any potentially exploitative design element in Diablo IV’s first season. The action-RPG is transforming into a live-service game complete with pricey cosmetics and repeatedly battered by waves of balance patches. Blizzard had previously encouraged players to take a break if they weren’t enjoying themselves, but logging off isn’t exactly the sort of thing Diablo has ever incentivized.



Rockstar Preps For GTA 6 By Buying Popular Roleplay Community

The team behind the biggest Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2 role-playing communities, Cfx.re, is officially becoming part of Rockstar Games. The new partnership comes ahead of the possible launch of GTA VI in 2024, and will lead to an updated policy that officially allows the addition of mods created in the FiveM and RedM communities to the hit open-world games.

“Over the past few years, we’ve watched with excitement as Rockstar’s creative community have found new ways to expand the possibilities of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2, particularly through the creation of dedicated roleplay servers,” Rockstar wrote in an August 11 blog post on its website. “As a way to further support those efforts, we recently expanded our policy on mods to officially include those made by the roleplay creative community.”

In addition to allowing users to make all sorts of mods for GTA V and Red Dead Redemption 2, the Cfx.re team’s FiveM and RedM clients are also the nexus for massive role-playing communities around the games who use dedicated servers to make elaborate worlds where individual players take on various roles from criminal and civilian to create a more authentic online open world experience.

Read More: Everything We Know About Grand Theft Auto 6

“This is a huge step forward in the growth of our community, and an opportunity for us to work with Rockstar Games to advance the FiveM platform and the creative community surrounding it,” Cfx.re wrote in a statement. “While our day-to-day operations won’t have any noticeable changes, with Rockstar’s support, we are going to continue to improve our platform and we are truly excited for what this means for our users, community, and creators!”

It’s a massive change for a company like Rockstar that has historically treated modding communities like renegade outlaws. “The FiveM project is an unauthorized alternate multiplayer service that contains code designed to facilitate piracy,” the company stated back in 2015. “Our policy on such violations of our terms of service are clear, and the individuals involved in its creation have had their Social Club accounts suspended.” One FiveM modder even claimed at the time that GTA publisher Take-Two sent private investigators to their house to shut their work down.

While the Cfx.re team’s efforts are currently based on GTA V and Red Dead Redemption 2, it’s not hard to imagine this new partnerhsip becoming an important basis for jumpstarting the player community around GTA VI whenever it launches. Take-Two has previously hinted that the game could arrive as early as next year, just over a decade after the previous game’s release. During that time, GTA V has remained a monthly best-seller on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, and GTA Online’s in-game microtransactions continue to line the company’s pockets.


Microsoft Discusses Buying Nintendo Or Valve In Leaked Email

A leaked 2020 email from Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer reveals his sustained interest in buying either Nintendo or Steam developer Valve. The Northern District Court of California released the email—along with many other documents from the Federal Trade Commission v. Microsoft lawsuit that, earlier this year, unsuccessfully attempted to block Microsoft’s proposed merge with Call of Duty publisher Activision.

Microsoft first made a pass at acquiring Nintendo back in 1999, when it gave the Zelda developer an offer that caused its execs to “[laugh] their asses off” for at least an hour, Bloomberg reported in 2021. Microsoft has also been rumored to want to nab Valve in the past; though, in 2018, Valve co-founder and former ‘80s Microsoft employee Gabe Newell supposedly told a fan it wasn’t selling.

In the 2020 email, Spencer tells Microsoft’s chief marketing officer Chris Capossela and executive vice president Takeshi Numoto that “Nintendo is THE prime asset for us in Gaming.”

“I’ve had numerous conversations with the [Leadership Team] of Nintendo about tighter collaboration and feel like if any US company would have a chance with Nintendo we are probably in the best position. […] Nintendo is sitting on a big pile of cash.”

The rest of the email thread between the three executives discuss Microsoft’s ultimately snubbed attempt to buy social media platform TikTok (or “Tic Tok,” as Numoto writes) in 2020 and other, potentially lucrative buys, including Warner Bros. Interactive and Elder Scrolls developer ZeniMax, which Microsoft absorbed in 2021. Despite this, Spencer acquiesces that he doesn’t see “an angle to a near term mutually agreeable merger of Nintendo and MS.”

“I don’t think a hostile action would be a good move,” he continues, “so we are playing the long game. But our [Board of Directors] has seen the full writeup on Nintendo (and Valve) and they are fully supportive on either if opportunity arises as am I.”

“At some point, getting Nintendo would be a career moment,” Spencer says. “It’s just taking a long time for Nintendo to see that their future exists off of their own hardware. A long time…. :-)”

In 2022, to sweeten its controversial, planned Activision merger, and possibly to improve relations with Spencer’s apparent crown jewels, Microsoft made a 10-year promise to release Call of Duty on Nintendo consoles, and it sweared to keep releasing the shooter on Steam. Kotaku reached out to Microsoft for comment.


Every Franchise Xbox Now Owns After Buying Activision

An image collage shows different games Microsoft now owns.

Image: Xbox / Activision / King / Bethesda / Kotaku

On October 13, Microsoft completed its nearly two-year-long process of consuming Activision Blizzard King. And while it will take months and years for Xbox and all the parties involved to sort everything out and start bringing past Activision Blizzard games to Game Pass, for now, we can tally up everything Microsoft seemingly now owns.

To put together this list I dug around a few different places and double-checked some franchises to confirm who owns what. In some cases I wasn’t able to figure out a decisive answer, so I left those out. I also avoided adding every single game these companies have published, as some were one-offs that have never been touched since and that don’t feel like a “franchise.” Finally, just because Activision or other companies previously published an X-Men or ESPN-branded game doesn’t mean the publisher owns that brand or even that specific game. So those aren’t on here, either.

With all that said, here’s my best shot at assessing every gaming franchise Microsoft now owns (probably).


  • 3D Ultra Pinball
  • Call of Duty
  • Call to Power
  • Crash Bandicoot
  • Dark Reign
  • Diablo
  • Extreme PaintBrawl
  • Front Page Sports Baseball
  • Gabriel Knight
  • Geometry Wars
  • Guitar Hero
  • Gun
  • Hearthstone
  • Heavy Gear
  • Heretic
  • Heroes of the Storm
  • Hexen
  • Interstate ‘76
  • King’s Quest
  • Laura Bow Mystery Series
  • Lost Vikings, The
  • Matt Hoffman’s Pro BMX
  • Overwatch
  • Phantasmagoria
  • Pitfall
  • Police Quest
  • Prototype
  • Quest for Glory
  • SWAT
  • Singularity
  • Skylanders
  • Soldier of Fortune
  • Space Quest
  • Spyro
  • StarCraft
  • Tenchu (only the games released before Activision sold the rights to From Software in 2004)
  • Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
  • True Crime
  • Ultimate Soccer Manager
  • Warcraft
  • World of Warcraft
  • Zork


  • AlphaBetty Saga
  • Blossom Blast Saga
  • Bubble Saga
  • Bubble Witch Saga
  • Candy Crush Saga
  • Diamond Digger Saga
  • Farm Heroes Saga
  • Hoop de Loop Saga
  • Papa Pear Saga
  • Paradise Bay
  • Pepper Panic Saga
  • Pet Rescue Saga
  • Pyramid Solitaire Saga
  • Rebel Riders
  • Scrubby Dubby Saga
  • Shuffle Cats

Bethesda / Zenimax

  • Commander Keen
  • Deathloop
  • Dishonored
  • Doom
  • Elder Scrolls
  • Fallout
  • Hi-Fi Rush
  • Prey
  • Quake
  • Rage
  • Redfall
  • Starfield
  • The Evil Within
  • Wolfenstein

Xbox / Microsoft

  • Age of Empires
  • Age of Mythology
  • Banjo-Kazooie
  • Bard’s Tale, The
  • Battletoads
  • Blinx: The Time Sweeper
  • Blue Dragon
  • Conker
  • Costume Quest
  • Crackdown
  • Crimson Skies
  • Fable
  • Forza
  • Gears of War
  • Halo
  • Killer Instinct
  • Kinect Sports
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator
  • Midtown Madness
  • Minecraft
  • Perfect Dark
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Project Gotham Racing
  • Psychonauts
  • R.C. Pro-Am
  • Rise of Nations
  • Sabreman
  • State of Decay
  • Thunder (Hydro Thunder, Arctic Thunder, etc.)
  • Viva Pinata
  • Wasteland
  • Zoo Tycoon

And consider this fun challenge while you take it all in: Try not to think about how sad it is that so few corporations now own so much of our pop culture. Let me tell you, I failed! But at least Call of Duty will be free on Game Pass in the future, right?


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