Microsoft wants to bring the Xbox Store to mobile and take on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, it’s confirmed.
That confirmation comes almost accidentally, with Microsoft making the news public via its filings with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regarding the investigation into the planned buyout of Activision Blizzard – a deal it’s already said will benefit players.
Those filings include text that confirms that, should the deal be allowed to go through, “Xbox will seek to scale the Xbox Store to mobile, attracting gamers to a new Xbox Mobile Platform.” What’s more, Microsoft has two big mobile players squarely in its sights, but it knows it won’t be easy. “Shifting consumers away from the Google Play Store and App Store on mobile devices will, however, require a major shift in consumer behavior.”
The plan, the filings say, is for Microsoft to be allowed to buy up companies and then offer popular content and games so that gamers will take a plunge rather than using the App Store or Play Store instead.
It isn’t immediately clear how it might actually do that, though. Launching a competing store on Android wouldn’t be a huge problem – Epic Games and others have done it already. But on iOS, it simply isn’t possible thanks to Apple’s rules. Microsoft can’t even release its Xbox Cloud Gaming service via the App Store because of similar restrictions, instead having to settle for a web app.
That web app could potentially be the answer, though. If Microsoft was to expand its cloud gaming service beyond its current implementation, it might be able to bypass App Store rules entirely. While that isn’t explicitly mentioned by Microsoft, there’s no denying the company’s current focus on cloud gaming wherever possible.