Technology

Microsoft wants to build an Xbox-branded mobile game store

Microsoft wants to build an Xbox-branded mobile game store

Microsoft wants to build an Xbox-branded mobile game store

Microsoft wants to bring the taste of buying Xbox games to your phone. As The Verge explainscompany submission The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has revealed plans to build a “next-generation” Xbox store that’s available on mobile, not just consoles and PCs. Unsurprisingly, the store would rely heavily on content from the suggested Merger of Activision Blizzard. Call of Duty Mobile and King’s more casual games (think Candy Crush) represent more than half of Activision’s revenue and would help attract players to the new platform, Microsoft said.

The purchase would increase Microsoft’s mobile games and advertising revenue, the company said. It would also offer “much-needed expertise” in the development and marketing of these titles.

The software giant is aware that there will be challenges. It will require a “major change” in consumer habits to pull them from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, the filing said. Microsoft says it will enforce it open app store philosophy to the Xbox Mobile Store, including equal treatment for third-party apps and the choice of in-app payments.

It is far from certain that Microsoft will launch an Xbox mobile game store as stated. CMA conducts a deep investigation buyout of Activision Blizzard over concerns that it could hurt competition, especially in console gaming. There’s also no practical way to install the dedicated Xbox game store on iPhones and iPads. While Android users can load third-party stores, Apple requires the use of the App Store. Microsoft struggled to bring Xbox games on the App Store, and had to offer Game Pass streaming through the browser. Short of antitrust lawsuits by forcing Apple to open up its platform, Microsoft may have to settle for courting Android gamers.

The strategy behind the submission is not subtle. Microsoft wants to convince UK regulators that the Activision Blizzard deal will preserve or even improve competition, and the prospect of an Xbox mobile store theoretically helps. However, agencies like the CMA may not see it this way. Officials remain concerned that Microsoft’s potential ownership of Call of Duty on consoles, the cloud and mobile devices would give the company too much control over the gaming industry, and the developer promises to support rival platforms it may not be soothing enough.

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