Apple and Google have long held a monopoly over successful mobile app stores. However, with mounting regulatory issues on both sides of the metaphorical aisle, both companies have come under scrutiny of late. This, of course, leaves a crevasse through which a third industry giant can sneak its mobile app store – Microsoft after the success of the Xbox store.
Microsoft has set its sights on launching an alternative to the two biggest mobile gaming repositories. However, the company feels that the success of its latest venture rests squarely on the back of its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The acquisition is currently under investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). As Microsoft asserts, the acquisition would position the planned mobile app store favorably as it could then leverage Activision Blizzard’s IP to make the store more appealing to consumers. The new planned store will be an extension of the Xbox store.
‘Building on Activision Blizzard’s existing communities of gamers, Xbox will seek to scale the Xbox Store to mobile, attracting gamers to a new Xbox Mobile Platform. Shifting consumers away from the Google Play Store and App Store on mobile devices will, however, require a major shift in consumer behavior. Microsoft hopes that by offering well-known and popular content, gamers will be more inclined to try something new.’
Even though Microsoft could easily release its own app store on Android devices, it would be considerably more difficult on iOS. This is due to iOS still being dead-set against side-loading. As a result, Microsoft has had to focus more on browser-based gameplay than a configuration that would require native iOS app streaming.
CMA worries that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard could give Microsoft a near-monopoly over the console gaming market. However, Microsoft asserts that the mobile gaming market is far larger and more pivotal, at 51% overall popularity. The acquisition and the launch of Microsoft’s own mobile app store would give Microsoft a considerable foothold in the mobile entertainment industry. But this is an industry already dominated by Google and Apple. Some competition would be healthy, and CMA should take that into account as the investigation continues.
It’ll be a while before we have any concrete announcement from Microsoft about the future of the planned Xbox mobile app store or if such a utility comes to pass at all. In the meantime, all we can do is watch and wait.
In other Xbox news, the Xbox app will now show you how long it takes to beat your favorite games.