Microsoft intends to create its own 'next generation game store' for mobile according to CMA filing

In filing a response to the Competition and Markets Authority recommendations, Microsoft has revealed that they intend to create a “Next generation game store” for various platforms including mobile.

Microsoft intends to create its own 'next generation game store' for mobile according to CMA filing

The Activision Blizzard acquisition by Microsoft has been an intensely detailed and drawn out process. Regulatory approval is still yet to be given by the US and UK authorities, two linchpins in the deal. However in the process of responding to the UK government’s outline of their concerns for the deal, Microsoft have revealed that their ambitions for mobile may go much further than simply capitalising on Activision Blizzard’s brand catalogue. Listing their intention to utilise the deal to support a move into creating a 'Next Generation Game Store', to compete with existing digital storefronts on multiple platforms, including mobile. If this does come to pass it would be another major blow to the monopoly that a smaller number of app stores have in the mobile space.

The full section is as follows “The Transaction [The Activision Blizzard Deal] will improve Microsoft’s ability to create a next generation game store which operates across a range of devices, including mobile as a result of the addition of Activision Blizzard’s content.17 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 behaviour. Microsoft hopes that by offering well-known and popular content, gamers will be more inclined to try something new.”

Breaking it down

So what does this mean? Well for one, Microsoft is clearly arguing that to build an alternative to the Google Play and iOS App Store, they’ll need to build on the existing catalogue that Blizzard has in the space. This is unsurprising, as with games like Diablo Immortal raking in massive revenue, they clearly see the potential established franchises have for crossover into the mobile space. Activision Blizzard also made it into our Top 50 Game Makers of 2022 based on King’s, creators of Candy Crush, contribution on top of this. However, if the deal goes through and if Microsoft moves forward with their plans we could be waiting a couple of years minimum for them to fully gear up for their move into the mobile space.

What this may precipitate is a reckoning between Microsoft and currently established app stores in the same manner that Epic Games and Apple butted heads. Offering a new alternative to their existing storefronts is likely to upset companies like Apple which are used to strong control over what goes on their platforms. Whilst Microsoft is in a more fortunate position than Epic with having their own mobile manufacturing division, it would not necessarily be a smooth introduction.

Staff Writer

Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who joined the Pocket Gamer Biz site fresh-faced from University before moving to the editorial team in November of 2023.