Microsoft has serious plans for its mobile expansion. According to Xbox head Phil Specner, the company wants to open its apps store as soon as next year.
Spencer opened up about it in an interview with the Financial Times, saying that Microsoft will launch an Xbox mobile store if the Activision Blizzard deal is approved by regulators.
The company is now waiting for mobile ecosystems to become more open so that it could challenge the biggest platform holders like Apple and Google. “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,” the Microsoft Gaming CEO noted.
A full-fledged Xbox mobile store might become possible due to upcoming changes in EU legislation. Last December, it was reported that Apple will have to comply with the so-called Digital Markets Act (DMA), which is aimed at preventing mobile gatekeepers from abusing their dominant positions in the market. So it should allow European users to install third-party apps and stores even on closed ecosystems like iOS.
The DMA is expected to come into force in March 2024.
Spencer told the Financial Times that Microsoft sees it as a “huge opportunity.” And Activision Blizzard mobile titles such as Candy Crush Saga, Diablo Immortal, and Call of Duty: Mobile should help the company attract users to its new app store.
Microsoft first opened up about its mobile expansion last October. In a response to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the company said the $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard should improve its “ability to create a next generation game store which operates across a range of devices, including mobile.”
According to Microsoft, the merger will boost competition in the mobile market dominated by Apple and Google. And Activision Blizzard should give it “much needed expertise in mobile game development, marketing and advertising.”
However, the $68.7 billion deal is yet to be cleared by regulators. The US Federal Trade Commission is now collecting documents ahead of an antitrust trial scheduled for August 2. The CMA has until April 26 to make its final decision on the merger, and the European Commission will rule on the deal on May 22.