Microsoft’s recent announcement (through Xbox head Phil Spencer) of an incoming app store for mobile platforms has certainly gotten fans excited. While factors including the company’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard plays a part in this move, this new development nevertheless has opened more possibilities as far as software distribution is concerned.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen a major mobile-focused software effort from Microsoft. While several mobile variants of the company’s productivity apps are available on Android and iOS devices (not to mention its Android-powered Surface Duo foldables), Microsoft’s mobile efforts are a far-cry from the golden age of a fully-mobile enterprise like Windows Phone.
It should be noted however that its Cloud gaming service – itself accessible on Android phones – has proved to be relatively successful, and the addition of a new appstore (currently eyed for a 2024 launch) will no doubt help build up its efforts towards increased software adoption among users. According to a statement from Spencer:
“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.”
He adds that there is potential for services like Xbox Game Pass and cloud gaming features to be present within the proposed app store. On a surface-level (no pun intended) perspective, this move seems better-suited for Android, given that this project will revolve around integrating a third-party app store into the mobile operating system.
By comparison, there might be more of a challenge getting Apple onboard with this endeavour, since the company usually does not allow third-party app stores on its mobile devices, an unsurprising fact given the company’s stance on maintaining the “walled garden” nature of iOS.
With all that being said though, there are still more hurdles to be overcome before this becomes reality. For one, Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard has yet to be finalized, as the EU Commission’s decision regarding the merger is yet to be decided upon. In any case though, instant access to more Microsoft and Xbox software on mobile devices is definitely something to look forward to, as more lines between device performance and portability are blurred with modern technology.