Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer says Microsoft is talking to partners about launching an Xbox mobile store, as first reported by Bloomberg. Spencer made the comment during an interview at the CCXP comics and entertainment convention in Brazil on Thursday.
The mobile store would take on Apple and Google, and could launch sooner than later, as Spencer noted that he doesn’t believe the launch is “multiple years away.” Earlier reports have suggested that the launch could come as soon as next year.
“It’s an important part of our strategy and something we are actively working on today not only alone, but talking to other partners who’d also like to see more choice for how they can monetize on the phone,” Spencer said during the interview, as noted by Bloomberg. “I don’t think this is multiple years away, I think this is sooner than that.”
Although Microsoft’s plans for an Xbox mobile store have been public for quite some time now, the new comments from Spencer come as Microsoft officially owns Activision Blizzard. It’s worth noting that court documents have recently shown that Activision Blizzard had plans to launch its own app store on Android.
Microsoft has said in previous fillings that one of the major reasons it wanted to acquire Activision Blizzard was to help build out its mobile gaming presence, as Activision Blizzard is behind numerous mobile hits like Candy Crush and Call of Duty Mobile. In October 2022, Microsoft’s filings with the CMA revealed that it planned to create a new “Xbox Mobile Platform” that includes mobile games by Activision and King.
Microsoft’s deal with Activision Blizzard closed in October, almost two year after it was announced, which likely led to the company having to delay its mobile store launch plans.
“We’ve talked about choice, and today on your mobile phones, you don’t have choice,’’ Spencer said during the interview. “To make sure that Xbox is not only relevant today but for the next 10, 20 years, we’re going to have to be strong across many screens.”
As noted by Bloomberg, the company’s plans to foray into mobile stores would come during a challenging regulatory climate amid the ongoing battle between Epic Games and Apple. Although Apple won its legal battle against Epic in April, the game developer asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on the matter in September and review whether Apple’s software business violates federal antitrust laws.
Separately, Apple has filed a legal case against the European Commission’s Digital Markets Act, which has the potential to force Apple to open up its app store ecosystem.