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    Microsoft could bring Xbox games store to Android and iPhones

    Tech
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    Last updated: December 4th, 2023 at 14:17 UTC+01:00

    After acquiring several game developers and studios over the past few years, Microsoft is thinking of bringing an Xbox games store to portable devices such as smartphones and tablets. Since Apple and Google are increasingly being forced to open up their platforms to third-party app stores, the way for Microsoft's mobile expansion has cleared up a bit.

    Microsoft has revealed (via Bloomberg) that it is working on bringing an Xbox-branded games store to Android and iOS. News about such a games store first surfaced during the company's acquisition of Activision-Blizzard last year. Back then, it was reported that Microsoft could be years away from bringing such a store to Android and iOS, but it seems like things are moving fast. Xbox head Phil Spencer confirmed that Microsoft is moving ahead with its plan and talking to several partners to bring the Xbox games store to non-Microsoft platforms. A Microsoft executive even claimed that the company is interested in bringing the Xbox games store to Nintendo and Sony platforms, but Phil Spencer was quick to deny those claims.

    During an interview at CCXP, a comics convention in Brazil, Phil Spencer said, “It’s an important part of our strategy and something we are actively working on today not only alone, but talking to other partners who’d also like to see more choice for how they can monetize on the phone… I don’t think this is multiple years away, I think this is sooner than that. We’ve talked about choice, and today on your mobile phones, you don’t have choice. To make sure that Xbox is not only relevant today but for the next 10, 20 years, we’re going to have to be strong across many screens.

    While Google has opened up and loosened the restrictions on Android, allowing third-party app stores to operate more freely, we haven't seen any popular app store emerge. Apple, on the other hand, doesn't allow third-party app stores on iOS and iPadOS. It cites security concerns for its walled garden approach, but a possible EU regulation could force Apple to open up its platform to third-party app stores. When that happens, we could see an Xbox games store on iPhones and iPads.

    Author's Note: Samsung is already a good partner to Microsoft, and the company ships its phones pre-installed with several Microsoft apps and services. We think when Microsoft launches the Xbox games store for Android, Samsung could be among the first brands to pre-install it on Galaxy smartphones and tablets. Right now, there aren't many AAA gaming titles on Android compared to iPhones and iPads. If a games store brings more AAA gaming titles to the platform with individual purchases or a monthly subscription, there could be a lot of takers for the service, especially since gaming is becoming more common among youngsters these days. However, for it to succeed, the collection of games and the whole experience needs to be very good.

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