According to gaming chief Phil Spencer, Microsoft could unveil its Xbox mobile gaming store as early as next year. Spencer disclosed the news in an interview on Monday to Financial Times but noted that the plan is dependent on regulators approving Microsoft’s long-protracted acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
“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,” Spencer said in the interview with the Financial Times. “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.”
Microsoft first revealed plans to have an Xbox mobile gaming store last year in a filing with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The company is hoping the EU’s Digital Markets Act will force Apple and Google’s hands to open up platform competition. Apple and Google own the market monopoly on iOS and Android, with the companies not allowing alternative app stores and other payment methods in some countries.
“The Digital Markets Act that’s coming — those are the kinds of things that we are planning for,” Spencer said on Monday. “I think it’s a huge opportunity.” To ensure fair competition, the EU’s Digital Markets Act will require large platforms, known as “gatekeepers”, to open their devices for other app stores. Microsoft has big plans for its Xbox mobile store, and developers will be given the freedom to run their own app stores within the Xbox mobile platform.
Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard is far from being close to completed. According to Reuters, the company is set to get the EU’s seal of approval over the deal after navigating its way around the antitrust concerns. Still, it has to convince the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which asked a judge to block the acquisition.
Image: Jason Lewis / Gamespot