Microsoft wants to launch a new app store for games on iPhone and Android as soon as next year, according to the CEO of Microsoft Gaming, Phil Spencer.
Speaking in an interview ahead of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, Spencer hinted at bringing a new way of playing games to iPhone once the EU’s Digital Markets Act comes into play in March 2024. These new EU rules would require Apple to open iOS to third-party app stores like Alt Store.
“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.”
A new way to play
Microsoft is currently in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard for $75bn despite continuous fighting with regulators in the U.S., Europe, and the UK. The regulators have raised concerns over competition, and the impact that buying the developer of Call of Duty would have on other platforms like Sony’s PlayStation.
Currently, Microsoft cannot offer gaming applications like its xCloud streaming service directly on the App Store as Apple states the application violates Apple’s App Store guidelines as they provide access to apps and games Apple can’t individually review.
When EU regulations come to fruition, Microsoft should be able to finally offer xCloud through the App Store alongside this new games app store akin to the Xbox Marketplace, where users can buy console games at the click of a button.
In the meantime, you can install xCloud reasonably easily and use some of the best iPhones, like the iPhone 14 Pro, as a handheld games console with console-quality games unavailable on the App Store.