While Microsoft has traditionally had a weaker presence in smartphone app distribution, this appears to be changing. Microsoft is now planning to launch its own mobile game store in order to break the duopoly of Apple and Google.
Microsoft’s gaming chief, Phil Spencer, told the Financial Times that the EU’s Digital Market Act (DMA) will help the company achieve its mobile app store goals. To recap, the Digital Markets Act seeks to prevent gatekeepers such as Apple and Google from imposing unfair terms on businesses and end users, as well as to ensure the openness of critical digital services.
The DMA will take effect in March 2024 and will allow companies to load their app stores on iPhones and Android phones by requesting that Apple and Google open up their systems.
We want to be in a position to offer Xbox and content from both us and our third-party partners 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.
Phil noted the company’s goal of providing Xbox and content on any screen, and expressed regret that it’s not currently possible to implement on mobile devices. To get around this, the company would be relying on EU regulations.
This would be an excellent move for Microsoft, which is aggressively expanding its gaming portfolio. The company has expressed interest in acquiring Activision Blizzard, one of the largest gaming companies, but the transaction has been halted due to regulatory issues.
Aside from this previous interest, the company has recently signed a 10-year agreement to make Xbox PC games available on NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW cloud gaming platform.