Microsoft is reportedly preparing to launch an Xbox games store on the iPhone as early as next year, pending regulatory approvals.
The success of the launch depends on multiple regulatory measures, including approval for Microsoft’s acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard, as this would give Microsoft a wider portfolio of mobile games. Additionally, the app’s launch would require the enforcement of the EU’s Digital Markets Act and other regulations allowing for alternative app stores on iOS.
Apple to allow alternative app stores on iPhone, potentially impacting Xbox games store launch
Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s gaming chief, discussed the plans in an interview with the Financial Times. He explained that Microsoft aims to offer Xbox and content from both the company and its third-party partners across any screen where people want to play. However, currently, the company cannot do so on mobile devices. Spencer stated that they want to build towards a world where these devices are opened up, providing gamers with more choices and flexibility in how they play their favorite games.
Apple is reportedly preparing to allow alternative app stores on the iPhone to comply with the Digital Markets Act, which is expected to come into effect in March 2024. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple plans to roll out the changes with an iOS 17 update next year for iPhone users in Europe only. This would mean that the Xbox games store would not be available in the US, at least initially.
Xbox already offers a cloud gaming service on the iPhone, but games are only playable via the web instead of the App Store. Apple has faced increasing regulatory scrutiny over its tight control of the App Store, leading the company to make changes in some countries, such as allowing alternative payments in South Korea.
If Microsoft is successful in launching its Xbox games store on the iPhone, it could potentially impact the gaming industry as a whole. The expansion of mobile gaming platforms would provide gamers with more choices and greater flexibility in how they play their favorite games. However, it remains to be seen how regulatory measures will affect the launch of the Xbox games store on the iPhone.
In conclusion, Microsoft’s plans to launch an Xbox games store on the iPhone depend on various regulatory measures, including approval for its acquisition of Activision Blizzard and the enforcement of the EU’s Digital Markets Act. Apple’s reported plans to allow alternative app stores on the iPhone could provide an opportunity for Microsoft to expand its offerings across multiple platforms and screens.