Microsoft is gearing up to launch a new app store for games as soon as next year, reports the Financial Times.
Notably, this planned release date falls around the time that the EU’s Digital Markets Act will require both Apple and Google devices to open up to alternative app stores.
The new rules aim to address concerns that Google and Apple have a duopoly on mobile platforms. The EU is expected to rule that both countries act as “gatekeepers”, however both companies could still appeal the decision, which could potentially lead to the implementation of the ruling being delayed past the current deadline of March.
“We want to be in a position to offer Xbox and content from both us and our third-party partners across any screen where somebody would want to play,” said Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer. “Today, we can’t do that on mobile devices but we want to build towards a world that we think will be coming where those devices are opened up.”
“The Digital Markets Act that’s coming — those are the kinds of things that we are planning for. I think it’s a huge opportunity.”
Taking on the competition
Alternative app stores are a growing trend in the mobile space, with Microsoft previously indicating its intent to create an app store for its own products. This has seen the company come to blows with Google over its planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard, parent company of mobile developer King. Should Microsoft decide to make King’s suite of mobile titles exclusive to its own app store, this could represent a significant loss of revenue for Google Play.
Additionally, Microsoft has repeatedly argued that Apple’s App Store hampers its ability to offer its cloud gaming service on Apple devices by forcing players to access it via a browser, resulting in decreased performance.
Earlier this month, Phil Spencer stated that Microsoft is lacking capability on mobile devices.