Microsoft’s mobile games store could launch as early as next year, the company’s head of gaming Phil Spencer has said. Thanks to the new Digital Markets Act — legislation that forces Apple and Google to allow users on its platforms to access apps from sources other than the App Store and Google Play Store — Spencer believes this will create a “huge opportunity” for Xbox, GameSpot reported.
“The Digital Markets Act that’s coming – those are the kinds of things we are planning for,” Spencer said in an interview with The Financial Times. “I think it’s a huge opportunity. We want to be in a position to offer Xbox and content from both us and our third-party partner across any screen where somebody would want to play. Today, we can’t do that on mobile devices but we want to build towards a world that we think will be coming where those devices are opened up.”
Signed into law back in September 2022 by the European Market, the Digital Markets Act will officially become applicable on May 2, according to GameSpot. Microsoft has made a big push into the mobile scene with its cloud gaming efforts recently, and the company’s plan to acquire Activision Blizzard is fueled primarily by it’s goal increase its foothold in the mobile market.
If the deal is approved, Microsoft will own Candy Crush developer King, as well as Call of Duty Mobile, lucrative properties in a market that is estimated to have 238.7 million “active” users in the US alone.
The Verge reported that Microsoft first hinted at a “next-generation store” early last year, just a month after the company announced its proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition. The Xbox mobile store is designed to rival Apple and Google’s mobile gaming store dominance, and will rely on content from Activision Blizzard like Call of Duty: Mobile and Candy Crush Saga – two hugely popular mobile games published by Activision and King, respectively.
According to the Verge, while Microsoft is building an Xbox mobile store, it will need regulators to take action against Apple and Google to ensure such a store can thrive on Android and iOS devices. Apple doesn’t allow alternative store on its iPhone and iPad devices, and even rival payment methods aren’t available in most countries.
Engadget reported that Microsoft first revealed it was working on an Xbox store for mobile devices in regulatory documents the company filed with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last year. At the time, the tech giant didn’t provide a timeline for the plan, noting only its proposed merger with Activision Blizzard would play a critical role.
According to Engadget, Spence was more direct on Monday. “The Digital Markets Act that’s coming – those are the kinds of things that we are planning for,” he said. “I think its a huge opportunity.”
In my opinion, the more places where people can play mobile games – the better! I personally find it rather frustrating when a game I really want to play (on mobile or on desktop) is not available for those who use Apple products.