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Microsoft Prepares to Launch Mobile Gaming Store

Microsoft Emphasizes Importance of GPU Supply for AI

Microsoft is in talks with partners to launch a mobile gaming store that would compete with those of Apple and Google.

Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox video game division, revealed the company’s plans during an interview at the CCXP comics and entertainment convention in Sao Paulo, Bloomberg reported Thursday (Nov. 30).

While no specific launch date was provided, Spencer said the store is probably not “multiple years away,” per the report. “I think this is sooner than that.”

Microsoft’s expansion of its Game Pass subscription service for games on personal computers to 11 Latin American countries earlier this year resulted in a 7% increase in customers, according to the report. Brazil, in particular, stands out as the second-largest market for the PC Game Pass globally.

However, Microsoft recognizes the importance of mobile gaming in Brazil and aims to address its lag in that segment, the report said.

To strengthen its position in the mobile gaming market, Microsoft completed its $69 billion acquisition of gaming giant Activision Blizzard in October, per the report. The deal was motivated, in part, by Activision’s strong presence in mobile gaming with popular titles like “Candy Crush” and “Call of Duty Mobile.” The acquisition is expected to boost Microsoft’s relatively small footprint in the $90 billion mobile gaming market.

Microsoft’s plans for an app store faced delays due to the lengthy process of finalizing the Activision Blizzard acquisition, according to the report.

The mobile gaming industry has also experienced a market downturn, with players spending 5% less in 2022 compared to the previous year, the report said.

Additionally, Microsoft’s mobile store would enter a challenging regulatory climate surrounding smartphone-based digital marketplaces, per the report. Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, has sued both Apple and Google over their store practices, claiming they are restrictive and unfair.

Despite these challenges, Microsoft sees an opportunity to provide more choice to mobile gamers, according to the report. Xbox’s cloud gaming technology already allows users to stream popular games to mobile phones.

Spencer emphasized the importance of being strong across multiple screens to ensure Xbox’s relevance in the coming years, per the report.

Microsoft’s mobile gaming store could also potentially benefit from the existing resentment toward market leaders Apple and Google, especially as regulatory efforts, such as the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, aim to increase competition and openness in the app store ecosystem, the report said.