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Phil Spencer: Xbox Talking With Partners to Create Mobile Gaming Store

Phil Spencer: Xbox Talking With Partners to Create Mobile Gaming Store - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 01 December 2023 / 4,761 Views

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer in an interview in Sao Paulo during the CCXP comics and entertainment convention stated Xbox is talking with partners to help create a mobile gaming store that will be designed to take on Apple and Google.

"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," said Spencer (via Bloomberg).

Spencer would not give a specific date, but did hint it could be as early as 2024. "I don't think this is multiple years away, I think this is sooner than that," he said.

Xbox has been looking grow outside the console in recent years as it now releases all first-party games day one on PC and mobile via Xbox Cloud Gaming. A mobile gaming store would help grow Xbox even further on mobile platforms.

Microsoft in October did complete its Activision Blizzard King acquisition, which included popular mobile games like Candy Crush and Call of Duty Mobile

The ability for Microsoft launch a mobile gaming store will be tough as Apple currently doesn't allow competing stores on iOS. Epic tried to sue Apple, but lost in court, however, it has asked the US Supreme Court to weigh in. Epic is currently in court fighting its case against Google, which does allow third-party app stores on Android.

The European Union's Digital Markets Act could potentially force Apple to open up its app store, however, Apple currently challenging this regulation.

"We’ve talked about choice, and today on your mobile phones, you don’t have choice," said Spencer. "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."


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012 and taking over the hardware estimates in 2017. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel. You can contact the author on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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31 Comments
method114 (on 30 November 2023)

I really don't get how you can create a piece of hardware and software and then the government can tell you, you have to allow other competitors onto your platform. If there were no other mobile options it would make sense but there's plenty of options. Just don't use an apple phone or MS can create their own phone. To me this is clear government overreach. This will also be an issue with security for Apple as it will allow stores to be on their platform that they can't regulate properly.

  • +3
Random_Matt method114 (on 30 November 2023)

Are you a macrumors user? You sound a lot like them.

  • 0
method114 Random_Matt (on 30 November 2023)

No I can't stand apple products. I do have an Iphone but that's it.

  • 0
Socke method114 (on 30 November 2023)

Because there would be almost only monopolies in the world. A company invents something and generates extreme amounts of money as a result. If a new company is created and invents something new, the big company simply buys the small one and destroys it. At a certain point, the state has to intervene, otherwise the world will eventually consist of just a handful of companies that control all products.

  • +3
The Fury Socke (on 30 November 2023)

I saw this documentary on that once. It focused on this little robot though the entire time.

  • +3
SanAndreasX Socke (on 30 November 2023)

"If a new company is created and invents something new, the big company simply buys the small one and destroys it."

Kind of like what Microsoft has always been doing. The irony of so many people cheering on one big destructive megacorp is mind-blowing.

  • +6
method114 Socke (on 30 November 2023)

As far as purchasing companies goes we have a system setup to stop companies from just buying up all the competitors. Forcing companies to use specific ports for charging is way to much. Imagine if they forced everyone to use micro-usb, would usb-c ever have been invented?

There'd be no reason to invent usb-c because all companies are forced into micro-usb and it would be a waste of time and energy to create it. These are the kind of consequences these sort of things can have it can stifle innovation because there's no reason to innovate a product that no one is allowed to use.

  • 0
Garrus Socke (on 30 November 2023)

this is not about monopoly, this is about software lockdown

this is a problem peculiar to software

it is my phone, and I should be able to put any software on it, that's all the government needs to do, not prevent monopolies, but allow customers to choose their own software

  • 0
Garrus Socke (on 30 November 2023)

do the same thing with consoles, if I want to play Nintendo games on my Xbox, that's my choice, there is no reason for it to be prevented

hardware and software should always be a choice not forcefully connected

it is a computer, and computers should not be locked down

  • 0
LurkerJ method114 (on 30 November 2023)

iOS has a marketshare of 20% worldwide, I think they're being targeted for all the wrong reasons, the mobile space has always had more choices and viable platforms than the desktop space has had for most of its lifespan, not to mention, the lines between the two become blurrier with every update and at one point, separating the mobile market from the desktop market won't make any sense.

Giving how the recent ABK fiasco went down, if Apple opens up their platform and they simply start buying studios left and right afterwards to secure the content and the income, who's to stop them? the CMA? lol

In any case, it's a win win situation for Apple, if MS succeeds in making the smartphone a device where the traditional gamer can play games, the iPhone, and the foldable iPhone, and especially the iPad, will be the best smartphones/tablets for this particular purpose, giving the consumer more reasons to buy Apple devices which where Apple makes most of its insane profits.

The story is different for those who rely on software income to keep their business afloat, opening up closed platforms like PS and Nintendo to Gamepass is a whole different matter. We know from the leaked files that PS profits margins are actually razor thin, games like TLOUS and GoW cost that much, any competition to PS digital store can be detrimental to the business.

  • +2
method114 LurkerJ (on 30 November 2023)

If this situation was a win win for Apple they wouldn't be fighting it in court. It opens them up to a situation where MS can bring in their own store and allow their games to be played only through their store. Apple doesn't care about people buying their devices for gaming because the amount of people who will do that is minimal. They'll lose much more money from people side loading apps and the money they get from purchases.

Game companies that have a lot of MTX transactions will allow side loading. Allowing them to bypass apple store and having to pay Apple. It will slowly cause Apple to lose a lot of revenue. There's a reason Apple is fighting this and it's not because it's a win win for them.

  • 0
LurkerJ method114 (on 30 November 2023)

I agree with you, a win-win scenario is an over simplification on my part and a wrong statement as you pointed out. They will lose a lot of revenue if all third party apps leave the App Store and side loading becomes the mainstream way of installing apps, I don't know to what extent that will happen though, especially that the EU is the only one asking Apple to open up the platform, the USA things are looking different, if anything, I think the conservative supreme court will side with Apple even further.

And again, if iOS becomes an Apple platform, what stops Apple from gobbling up the content and securing it at the source? Seems to be working for MS. They can also reduce their 30% cut to not haemorrhage apps to other App Stores. I just don't think it's a black and white scenario.

If traditional gaming doesn't become a thing smartphones, which I don't think it will, then I don't see the point of Gamepass on iOS but that will be an MS problem to solve. If it does become a thing, it will be the "one more reason" to get an iPhone over others though.

  • +1
method114 LurkerJ (on 30 November 2023)

I don't think sideloading will be come huge. Especially for iphone users. I just think Apple sees the potential to lose a lot of revenue if it's allowed. Not to mention I do think it's a security risk and Apple is big on keep their things secure. I think your right though they'll most likely lose in the EU but not in the US. It could be they don't want to lose EU though and kind of give the nudge for the US to go ahead and follow the EU's decision.

  • +1
Garrus method114 (on 30 November 2023)

You are very confused here, it is not "their platform". They are "OUR phones". Why does Apple own it. I bought the phone, it is my phone, and I can do what I want with it. Software can be endlessly artificially locked down, because the source code is "closed source". That can not be allowed. Imagine if you were only allowed to buy software through IBM on your PC. 2023 and still buying from IBM, not Steam, not Apple, not Microsoft, IBM. That would be very bad.

  • 0
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Pemalite method114 (on 01 December 2023)

Microsoft was on the receiving end once before on exactly as you describe... Where they were fined a pretty hefty sum for including their own software in their operating systems.

What goes around, comes around I guess.

  • -1
LurkerJ Pemalite (on 01 December 2023)

How do you compare iOS with its 20% market share (and even smaller market share when you include comparable OSes which includes desktops) with the dominance of Windows back in the day?

  • 0
Manlytears (on 30 November 2023)

Interesting and daring, but...
If MS can't even make the Windows store gain market share within their own operating system, how do they expect to create a virtual store to gain market share on Android and IOS systems!?
It can be a huge mess, and a lot of money wasted.

  • +1
BonfiresDown Manlytears (on 30 November 2023)

Game Pass is growing pretty well on PC it seems.

Mobile will be harder nut to crack. I don’t think many users care about Game Pass there or about a handful of exclusives like Candy Crush

  • -3
DekutheEvilClown BonfiresDown (on 01 December 2023)

What is the evidence that Gamepass is doing well on PC? According to MS’s own leaked data they were predicting just under 20m PC Gamepass users by 2030, part of their overall target of 110m.

15-20m already seems very low and they’ve been missing their total Gamepass targets by a large margin for the last 2 years. Perhaps PC Gamepass is the one sector exceeding expectations and everything else is tanking, seems unlikely though.

  • 0
method114 BonfiresDown (on 01 December 2023)

We don't know if it's good growth because they don't provide numbers. This was during 2022 and during the FTC trial Phil admitted they virtually had no growth from early 2022 to October 2022

  • 0
enurtsol method114 (on 04 December 2023)

We know since then that Starfield and the Activision acquisition helping boost subscribers

https://www.pymnts.com/subscriptions/2023/microsoft-boosts-xbox-game-pass-engagement-even-as-competition-escalates/

On a call with analysts Tuesday (Oct. 24) discussing the technology company’s first-quarter fiscal 2024 financial results, CEO Satya Nadella spoke to how gaming subsidiary Xbox has been driving both new subscriptions and engagement among existing users.

He noted that the launch of the company’s Starfield game drove the highest-yet number of new subscribers in a single day and that Game Pass saw “better-than-expected subscriber growth” throughout the quarter.

This subscriber growth contributed to a 13% year-over-year increase in Xbox content and services

"Xbox’s Activision deal is already working: data suggests more US adults are becoming interested in Game Pass"

https://www.vg247.com/xbox-activision-deal-data-suggests-more-us-adults-interested-game-pass

This is according to data collected by consumer analytics firm CivicScience, which has conducted polls of US adults with the aim of determining the effect that the deal could have in terms of helping to stoke more interest in Microsoft’s gaming offerings.

In order to try and gauge “the potential reach of Microsoft’s deal”, CivicScience has also polled some people who aren’t currently subscribed to Game Pass regarding which Activision Blizzard titles they play regularly.

9% responded that they play Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, or Diablo at least once a week, with Hearthstone and Overwatch having mustered an additional 8% and 5% respectively. This looks like some potential good news for Microsoft, with CivicScience arguing these groups to be “audiences that could convert and subscribe to Xbox Game Pass.”

  • 0
method114 enurtsol (on 04 December 2023)

That's great but honestly man having almost no growth for a whole year is just not a good sign IMO. For instance it says 13% growth yoy well in 2022 they had pretty much no growth so...

  • 0
enurtsol DekutheEvilClown (on 04 December 2023)

At least in Japan's growing PC market, it's outpacing the industry growth

"The unexpected rise of PC Game Pass in Japan"

https://www.xfire.com/pc-game-pass-thriving-in-japans-booming-pc-gaming-landscape/

Microsoft's push to be the dominant player in the PC gaming sector is going far better than expected in Japan.

The Japanese PC gaming market, once a sleeping giant, has now doubled in size.

What's more, Xbox Game Pass PC subscriptions in Japan have quadrupled, outpacing the market's growth and signaling a seismic shift in gamer behavior.

  • 0
Leynos (on 30 November 2023)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYOA_ciyS6c
(The Title of the video is I really hate that man)

  • 0
The Fury (on 30 November 2023)

I remember them mentioning this before the bought ABK. King has a decent market but it's no where near the level of content they might need to put a dent in Apple and Google's monopolies, if said companies even allow it on their systems. I wish them luck regardless as it's needed.

  • 0
method114 (on 30 November 2023)

I've also been reading that even if Apple is forced to do this, It will only apply to the EU. Which I don't think will help MS as much as they would like if that's what they end up doing.

  • 0
enurtsol method114 (on 04 December 2023)

It'll eventually apply to everyone worldwide since it'd be difficult for Apple to police what applies to EU-only when people travel with their mobile devices all the time

Just like what happened when EU required Apple iPhones to use USB-C - now all new iPhones are USB-C worldwide

  • 0
method114 enurtsol (on 04 December 2023)

I could see usb-c being hard to manage but not sideloading. That's just a software thing that needs to be updated. I constantly had IOS blocking me from using hotspot just based on my mobile provider and needing to pay extra. If they can do that blocking sideloading would be easy.

  • 0
Random_Matt (on 30 November 2023)

Nice, more predatory gaming, ban all that shit.

  • -2