Microsoft set to challenge Apple and Google with new mobile gaming store

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Microsoft is preparing to introduce its online store in July, aiming to compete with the established app stores of Apple and Google. Sarah Bond, the Xbox President announced it at the Bloomberg Technology Summit, reported India Today. The new store will initially feature Microsoft’s games like Candy Crush Saga, with plans to expand offerings to include games from other publishers.

Microsoft aims to provide an alternative platform for purchasing mobile game consumables, bypassing the fees associated with Apple and Google’s marketplaces. The store will be launched as a web-based platform initially. Sarah Bond said they want to “ensure accessibility on any device, in any country, free from the constraints imposed by the closed ecosystems of other app stores.” Bond said in future the store will go beyond the web.

Microsoft sees this as an opportunity to establish a universal store that allows users to maintain a gaming identity, library, and rewards system across multiple platforms.

An Xbox spokesperson said, “This web-based store marks the beginning of our commitment to creating a trustworthy app store grounded in the gaming experience.”

Microsoft’s gaming chief, Phil Spencer, mentioned in 2023 that the company is considering launching its own Xbox app store and that the mobile store’s launch might not be far off, suggesting that it could debut in 2024.

He 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.”

Microsoft’s move is supported by the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, allowing tech companies to establish their direct-to-consumer web stores and bypass the fees charged by Apple and Google. Right now there are concerns about the dominance of Apple and Google in the app store market, where they levy a standard fee of around 30 percent on sales.