Phil Spencer, Head of Microsoft’s gaming division, has revealed that the company plans to launch an Xbox store on the iOS platform as early as next year, provided that the $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard receives regulatory approval. In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Spencer expressed Microsoft’s ambition to offer Xbox and other content across various screens, including mobile devices.
Microsoft initially disclosed its intentions to develop an Xbox store for mobile devices in documents submitted to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last year. The company emphasized the critical role of the Activision Blizzard merger, but did not provide a specific timeline. Spencer mentioned the upcoming Digital Markets Act (DMA) as a significant opportunity for the company.
The DMA will require major platforms designated as “gatekeepers” by the European Union to open their devices to competing app stores. According to a Bloomberg report, Apple is already working to make iOS compliant with the legislation before its March 2024 deadline. The EU will allow designated gatekeepers to appeal, potentially delaying enforcement.
Furthermore, with challenges from the Federal Trade Commission and CMA, it is uncertain whether Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition will close before the new rules apply to Apple. However, Spencer stated that it would be relatively easy for Microsoft to modify its existing Xbox and Game Pass apps to sell games and subscriptions on mobile devices.