May 23, 2024

Attack on Apple and Google: Microsoft is planning an app store for mobile games

With the billion-dollar acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft wants not only to strengthen its position in the gaming sector, but also to attack Apple and Google. According to the head of the group’s Xbox division, Microsoft is preparing to launch a new app store for games on iPhone and Android smartphones as early as next year, when Activision Blizzard will be acquired by Microsoft for $69 billion by regulatory authorities. the The Financial Times reported on Monday.

“We want to be able to bring the Xbox, our content, and third-party content to any screen someone wants to play on,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said in an interview ahead of the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week. . “Today we can’t do that on mobile devices, but we want to work towards a world that we think will come when you open up these devices.”

Spencer is hinting at new EU rules that would require Apple and Google to open their mobile platforms in the EU to third-party app stores. The new regulations are expected to come into force from March 2024 as part of the EU Digital Markets Act, which Spencer described as a “great opportunity”. Microsoft then stated that it wanted to be able to offer its game content in a kind of Xbox Mobile Store “on all screens”, that is, also and above all on smartphones.

First, however, the antitrust dispute between Microsoft and Sony must be adjudicated. Microsoft is currently battling with regulators in the US, Europe and the UK, all of which have raised concerns about the potential competitive impact of Microsoft’s acquisition of Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard. PlayStation maker Sony, the most vocal opponent to the takeover, wants to avoid the deal at all costs.

Recently, it was reported that the European Union apparently wants to approve the acquisition by Microsoft. A decision is expected to be announced at the end of April. In order to appease the competition authorities, Microsoft has promised its competitors access to games.

From the point of view of the competition authorities, the plans now announced by Microsoft for its own app store for mobile games could be another argument for agreeing to take over Activision Blizzard, since this would compete with the monopolistic App Store of Apple and Google.

While it’s hard to predict exactly when Microsoft will be able to launch its own store, Spencer said the adjustments it needs to make to the Xbox and Game Pass apps to sell games and subscriptions on mobile devices are “pretty trivial.” Activision Blizzard will fix Microsoft’s current lack of mobile games. Popular games like Call of Duty Mobile, Diablo Immortal, and Candy Crush Saga, as well as others in development, will be “vital” in luring players away from the Apple and Google marketplaces to the Xbox Mobile store, according to Spencer.


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