Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer reaffirmed plans to open an Xbox Digital Store on mobile for iPhone and Android operating system games as soon as next year if its $75 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard is cleared by regulators.
A new rule that is expected to come into force in March 2024 under the EU’s Digital Markets Act will require Apple and Google to open their mobile platforms to app stores owned and operated by other companies.
“We want to be in a position to offer Xbox and content from both us and our third-party partners across any screen where somebody would want to play,” Phil Spencer, Microsoft Gaming CEO, told the Financial Times in an interview ahead of this week’s annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Reports surfaced last year around Microsoft’s plans about a month after it announced its proposed acquisition of Activision. The mobile store will rely on content from Activision Blizzard such as "Call of Duty."
"Today, we can't do that on mobile devices but we want to build towards a world that we think will be coming where those devices are opened up," Spencer said, arguing that the deal could increase competition for gaming on smartphones.
Opening a store would give Microsoft much more data to target ads across a variety of operating systems, not just Windows.
Microsoft continues to battle with regulators in the U.S., Europe and the UK. All have raised concerns about the potential impact on competition from the owner of the Xbox console buying the developer of "Call of Duty," one of the world’s most popular games franchises.