In a move where the only surprise should be it has taken this long, it seems Microsoft is finally positioning itself to unleash an Xbox mobile gaming store into the wild.

Apple has long held the market monopoly, much to the concerns of the regulators, and with the new European Union’s Digital Markets Act starting to flex its muscle by adding the App Store to its new digital antitrust list, the app landscape might shortly have to undergo some seismic changes and Microsoft is ready to act.

Bloomberg reports Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, said recently at the CCXP Convention in Sao Paulo, “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.”

While that comment doesn’t definitively state that a Game Pass for mobile is imminent, Spencer did go on to say, “I don’t think this is multiple years away, I think this is sooner than that”.

Microsoft’s Game Pass subscription service has proved a huge success with its monthly influx of new titles players have access to for a set monthly fee. Indeed, the service has already announced the arrival of 14 new games in December alone.

Any launch of a new mobile gaming store will have hurdles to clear however – Apple currently does not allow any competing app stores on its iOS platforms and, as Epic argued against in its long-running Fortnite lawsuit, the Cupertino giant takes a sizeable 30% cut from most purchases.

Microsoft recently completed its much-vaunted acquisition of Activision Blizzard and its huge IPs Call of Duty Mobile and Candy Crush, strengthening its mobile offering overnight. Now it seems as though it is ready to enter the fray itself, backed by its new additions, even though it has already confirmed that Activision Blizzard titles will not be coming to the regular Game Pass in the near future.

Keeping Xbox Relevant

Microsoft already has a cloud gaming offering as part of Game Pass Ultimate that allows subscribers to stream many of the games on offer to mobile devices, and the ease with which you can add your standard controller to your phone or tablet offers to possibility of changing screens to play your favorite titles as you go about your day.

Spencer is keen however to make sure that in terms of the available technology, Xbox keeps pace with its rivals in the long term, commenting, “We’ve talked about choice, and today on your mobile phones, you don’t have a choice,’’ Spencer said. “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.”

It seems the battle lines are about to be drawn.

Featured image: Pexels

Paul McNally

Gaming Editor

Paul McNally has been around consoles and computers since his parents bought him a Mattel Intellivision in 1980. He has been a prominent games journalist since the 1990s, spending over a decade as editor of popular print-based video games and computer magazines, including a market-leading PlayStation title published by IDG Media. Having spent time as Head of Communications at a professional sports club and working for high-profile charities such as the National Literacy Trust, he returned as Managing Editor in charge of large US-based technology websites in 2020. Paul has written high-end gaming content for GamePro, Official Australian PlayStation Magazine, PlayStation Pro, Amiga Action, Mega Action, ST Action, GQ, Loaded, and the The Mirror. He has also hosted panels at retro-gaming conventions and can regularly be found guesting on gaming podcasts and Twitch shows. He is obsessed with 3D printing and has worked with several major brands in the past to create content Believing that the reader deserves actually to enjoy what they are reading is a big part of Paul’s ethos when it comes to gaming journalism, elevating the sites he works on above the norm. Reach out on X.