Microsoft plans Xbox Mobile Store, an alternative to Google Play and App Store

It seems the UK authorities’ investigation into the Activision acquisition has revealed Microsoft’s ambitions in the gaming market for the future. Not only does the software giant want to bring one of the world’s biggest publishers, which owns franchises such as Call of Duty, Diablo, WarCraft and StarCraft, under the Xbox umbrella, but it also wants to create an alternative games store that will host new games based on these licenses in their mobile versions.

Documents filed to approve Activision acquisition reveal plans for Xbox Mobile Store

Basically, Microsoft has confirmed in documents filed for review that it wants to create competition in the mobile gaming market with a new Xbox store for smartphones. It would offer alternatives to the Google Play Store and App Store, listing games produced by subsidiaries King and Blizzard and other proprietary studios. Basically, Call of Duty Mobile, Diablo Immortal and other upcoming games could be downloaded and monetised through its own store.

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“This transaction will enhance Microsoft’s ability to create a next-generation game store that operates across multiple device types, including mobile, by adding Activision Blizzard content. Building on Activision Blizzard’s existing communities, Xbox will seek to grow the Xbox Store on mobile, attracting gamers to a new Xbox Mobile platform. Moving consumers from the Google Play Store and App Store to mobile devices, however, will require a major shift in their behavior. Microsoft hopes that offering popular and well-known content will encourage gamers to try something new.”

“The deal will give Microsoft an important presence in the mobile gaming market. Mobile gaming revenue from the King division and titles like Call of Duty Mobile, as well as ancillary revenue, accounted for more than half of Activision Blizzard’s revenue in the first half of 2022. Mobile customers account for about three-quarters of its monthly active users. Microsoft does not currently have a significant presence in the mobile gaming space, and the deal will bring needed expertise in mobile game development, marketing and advertising. Activision Blizzard will be able to contribute the lessons learned from developing and publishing mobile games to the growth of Xbox gaming studios.”, Microsoft documents state.

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Epic Games took a similar approach

This strategy isn’t exactly different from the one Epic Games has taken with Fortnite. The reason Epic resorted to a store of its own is obviously the commission charged by Google and Apple of 30% of each transaction. That way, Epic can keep all the money customers spend, or even offer content at lower prices.

An Xbox store could mean, however, that some of the company’s games might not be available on iOS. Microsoft can create an alternative to the Play Store with no problem, since Android allows other app stores to be installed. On iOS, however, Apple doesn’t want this, citing security risks, and so far no lawsuit the company has been involved in has come up with a requirement to open the software platform to alternative stores. The only victory against Apple has come from Epic Games, which managed to get the ability to integrate alternative payment systems for app developers. But that doesn’t stop Apple from charging fees.

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