Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer revealed plans to explore the launch of an Xbox mobile store, in a move set to compete with industry giants Apple and Google. The announcement was made during an interview at the CCXP comics and entertainment convention in Brazil on Thursday, as reported by Bloomberg.
Spencer emphasized the significance of this move in Microsoft’s strategy, stating that it is actively being pursued in collaboration with other partners who share a desire for increased monetization options on mobile devices.
“It’s an important part of our strategy and something we are actively working on today not only alone, but talking to other partners who’d also like to see more choice for how they can monetize on the phone,’’ Spencer said.
Contrary to expectations of a distant release, Spencer expressed optimism that the launch is not “multiple years away” and could materialize sooner than anticipated. Earlier reports had suggested the possibility of a launch as early as the coming year.
Microsoft’s longstanding intentions to establish an Xbox mobile store have been public knowledge, but Spencer’s recent comments take on added significance in light of Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Notably, court documents have revealed that Activision Blizzard had its own plans to launch an app store on Android.
While Microsoft’s deal with Activision Blizzard closed in October, nearly two years after its announcement, the timeline of the mobile store launch may have been influenced by the complexities of the acquisition process. Spencer reiterated Microsoft’s commitment to offering choice, especially on mobile devices, where options are currently limited. He emphasized the need for Xbox to remain relevant across various screens in the coming decades.
“We’ve talked about choice, and today on your mobile phones, you don’t have choice,’’ Spencer said. “To make sure that Xbox is not only relevant today but for the next 10, 20 years, we’re going to have to be strong across many screens.”
Microsoft’s venture into the mobile store landscape comes amid a challenging regulatory environment, marked by the ongoing legal dispute between Epic Games and Apple. Although Apple secured a victory against Epic in April, the latter sought Supreme Court intervention in September, challenging whether Apple’s software business breaches federal antitrust laws. Additionally, Apple has taken legal action against the European Commission’s Digital Markets Act, potentially impacting Apple’s app store ecosystem by compelling it to open up.