Microsoft , in October last year, told the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that its $68.7 billion Activision Blizzard acquisition will help the company expand gaming beyond consoles by bringing “more games to mobile platforms”, suggesting its plans to compete with Apple ‘s App Store and Google Play Store. Phil Spencer , CEO of Microsoft Gaming, has now shed more light on how the company aims to fulfil its ambitions.
Spencer told The Financial Times that the European Union’s (EU) Digital Market Act (DMA) will help the company launch a mobile app store as early as next year. The DMA came into force on November 1, 2022, and will become applicable on May 2 2023. All the companies will have to comply with the Act by March 6, 2024, at the latest.
The DMA will allow consumers to link up with businesses outside their platforms. This means that companies will be able to load their app stores on iPhones and Android phones. Both Apple and Google have their own app store platform rules according to which developers are required to follow their system to distribute apps and games. Both companies charge up to a 30% cut for using the platform.
“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. 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 Financial Times (via TechCrunch) quoted Spencer as saying.
The EU is expected to designate Apple and Google as “gatekeepers” under the DMA. The companies that have online intermediation services including app stores, online search engines, certain messaging services, operating systems, and online marketplaces, among others are qualified as “gatekeepers”
DMA is a “huge opportunity”
The report cited Spencer as saying that the deal will increase competition in the “largest platform people play on” (smartphones) where Apple and Google currently have what some antitrust authorities call a “duopoly.”
“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,” he was quoted as saying.
Microsoft-Activision Blizzard deal
Microsoft’s deal to acquire video game company Activision Blizzard is under review in various regions. The company has been telling regulators that it wants to improve competition by providing Activision Blizzard games, especially the Call of Duty franchise, on a multitude of platforms.
Talking about the opportunity in the mobile space, Microsoft previously said that the acquisition will improve its ability to create a next-generation game store that will operate across a range of devices, including mobile, and attract gamers to a new Xbox Mobile Platform .
“The acquisition of Activision Blizzard provides Microsoft with capabilities and content on mobile while creating new distribution options for game developers outside of mobile app stores,” Microsoft said in a response to CMA.
Microsoft recently announced four 10-year deals – two with cloud platforms, Nvidia and Nintendo .