According to the Financial Times, Microsoft’s Xbox chief Phil Spencer said that if regulators approve its $68.7 billion (currently about RMB 473.343 billion) acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft intends to launch a new game app store on iPhone and Android smartphones as early as next year.
According to the EU’s Digital Market Act (DMA), Apple must open its mobile store after March 2024, forcing the platform to allow users to install and uninstall software through means other than the official store, and not allowing large companies like Apple and Google to block developers from integrating third-party payment methods to bypass the platform’s draw.
“We want to be able to offer Xbox and our content and that of our third-party partners on any device that people want to play on,” Microsoft Xbox CEO Phil Spencer said in an interview ahead of the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week.
“Today, we can’t do that on mobile devices, but we want to build a world with open devices.”
While PlayStation maker Sony has been publicly opposed to Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard, Spencer believes the deal could boost the competitive structure on what he calls “the platform people play most often” — smartphones. It is well known that Apple and Google currently have what major regulators call a “duopoly” in the smartphone market for app distribution.
The upcoming Digital Marketplace Act is exactly what we have planned,” he said, “and I think it’s a huge opportunity.
Under the DMA, the EU will designate Apple and Google as “gatekeepers” and require them to change the rules for distributing apps on iPhone and Android devices, but it’s clear that both sides won’t give up their profits so easily, and it’s believed they will appeal the order or delay enforcement until after the March deadline next year. after the deadline.
Spencer acknowledged that it’s difficult for Microsoft to predict exactly when it will launch its own store, but said Microsoft could easily make adjustments to the Xbox and Game Pass apps on mobile devices, which he considers “pretty trivial.” He added that Microsoft’s current lack of mobile games is “a clear hole in our capabilities” that needs to be filled by Activision Blizzard.
He said that popular games such as Call of Duty, Diablo: Immortal and Candy Crush, as well as games currently in development, are “critical” to attracting Apple and Android gamers to the Xbox mobile store.
In addition, Microsoft and Apple have been at odds for years over how Microsoft’s cloud-based gaming service (part of Xbox Game Pass) will work on the iPhone. Microsoft argues that Apple App Store rules limit its ability to offer cloud games on the iPhone, forcing users to play cloud games through their browsers, which leads to a degraded gaming experience.
Of course, Apple certainly denies blocking cloud games, but App Store rules do require game publishers to list each game separately on the App Store, and Apple doesn’t allow users to buy other games in the app’s built-in store.
The CMA did prove to be a major obstacle on the road to Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which said last month that the deal raised multiple competitive concerns that could only be addressed by divesting itself of its sensational Call of Duty franchise.
Microsoft has argued that divesting Call of Duty would undermine the purpose of its deal, and the company is trying to convince the CMA that its proposed remedies (such as a 10-year commitment to license Call of Duty to a competitor) would address the CMA’s concerns.
Microsoft has now made a “binding commitment” to the European Commission to provide Activision Blizzard content to rival cloud gaming providers in an attempt to reduce the EU regulator’s concerns about the acquisition, said a person with direct knowledge of the discussions.
EU regulators have allayed major concerns and have narrowed the scope of their investigation into cloud gaming, the people familiar with the matter said.