Microsoft is reportedly building its own mobile games store under the Xbox brand.
The new Microsoft store will supply games directly to mobile devices, and would thus challenge Apple and Google on their own turf.
Details of Microsoft’s plans have emerged via a filing with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is in the process of investigating the computing giant’s proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
In justifying the acquisition, Microsoft states that it wishes to “create a next generation game store which operates across a range of devices, including mobile”.
Microsoft plans to “scale the Xbox Store to mobile, attracting gamers to a new Xbox Mobile Platform,” and openly admits that its plan will entail “shifting consumers away from the Google Play Store and App Store on mobile devices”.
In order to achieve that fundamental shift, Microsoft claims that it will need Activision Blizzard and its “well-known and popular content”. That popular content includes everything from mobile gaming giant King, which Activision Blizzard itself acquired in 2016.
Microsoft points out that takings from mobile games like Candy Crush Saga and Call of Duty Mobile accounted for more than half of Activision Blizzard’s revenues for the first half of 2022. This is a big deal in every sense of the phrase.
As The Verge points out, Apple is unlikely to stand for such direct competition from Microsoft under its current stances, particularly given that it runs its own Apple Arcade game subscription service from within the App Store. With legislators around the world closing in on the big tech companies and any hint of anticompetitive behaviour, however, the way could just open up for Microsoft at some point in the future.