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Microsoft’s new Xbox mobile game store may launch in 2024

Microsoft is preparing to launch its Xbox mobile game store next year. The software giant revealed its plans for an Xbox mobile store last year, and now Xbox chief Phil Spencer says the company is building the store in anticipation of companies like Apple and Google being forced to open their mobile app stores.

“We want to be able to deliver Xbox and content from both us and our third-party partners to any screen anyone would want to play,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said in a statement. conversation with the Financial times. “Today we can’t do that on mobile devices, but we want to build a world that we think will come where those devices are opened up.”

Microsoft said last year it was working on a new Xbox mobile store

Microsoft first hinted at a “next-generation store” early last year, just a month after the company announced its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The Xbox mobile store is designed to rival the dominance of Apple and Google in the mobile game store and will rely on Activision Blizzard content such as Call of Duty: mobile And Candy Crush Saga – two hugely popular mobile games published by Activision and King respectively.

As Microsoft builds an Xbox mobile store, it needs 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 stores on its iPhone and iPad devices, and even competitive payment methods aren’t available in most countries.

Companies like Microsoft and Spotify hope that the EU’s Digital Markets Act will force Apple and Google to change the way they distribute apps on mobile devices, ultimately opening up their platforms and stores to competition.

“The Digital Markets Act coming up — those are the things we’re planning,” Spencer said. “I think it’s a huge opportunity.” Microsoft currently has a small presence in mobile gaming, and the Xbox maker admitted last year in a filing with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA): “Microsoft currently has no meaningful presence in mobile gaming and the [Activision Blizzard] transaction will bring much-needed expertise in mobile game development, marketing and advertising.”

Microsoft is also building a broader Xbox mobile platform. Microsoft quickly supported Xbox Cloud Gaming on Valve’s Steam Deck and also partnered with Logitech and Razer for their cloud gaming-focused handhelds. The upcoming Xbox mobile store will also allow developers to run their own app stores within Microsoft’s Xbox mobile platform.

For all of this to become a reality, Microsoft is still relying on regulatory approval of its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Microsoft recently sparred with the CMA, highlighting “obvious errors” in the regulator’s financial math. Microsoft also faces scrutiny from the European Commission and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

While the EU is reportedly likely to approve the deal with Microsoft, the FTC filed a lawsuit last year to block it, and the case is still in the document discovery stage, with evidence hearing scheduled before August 2. FTC lawyers recently requested documents about Microsoft’s “next-generation gaming ecosystem,” which may hint at the company’s plans to build its Xbox mobile game store.

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