Microsoft is Bringing Xbox to the iPhone
Upcoming legislation in Europe will force Apple and Google to allow Microsoft to launch its games service on their mobile operating systems.
Microsoft’s digital gaming universe is coming to iPhone and Android, according to the head of its Xbox division.
Phil Spencer, chief executive of Microsoft Gaming, stated that the brand wants “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” in a recent interview with the Financial Times, teasing that the tech giant’s huge games library may be natively available on competitors’ mobile devices soon.
While a date has yet to be set, it’s likely this won’t come into effect before 2024. Microsoft’s $75B USD takeover bid of Activision Blizzard — the Santa Monica based creators of Call of Duty — is currently waiting to be cleared by regulators in the U.S., U.K. and Europe, and it’s likely that upcoming legislation in the latter will drive any developments here. The EU’s Digital Markets Act comes into affect in March next year and will force Apple and Google to allow users to download apps from sources beyond their own, official stores. “The Digital Markets Act [is] coming — those are the kinds of things that we are planning for,” said Spencer, something Apple in particular will undoubtedly fight — the Cupertino brand notoriously charges developers 30% to list their applications on the App Store.
Microsoft currently offers its digital game services through dedicated applications on PCs and Xboxes. It’s also possible to access these on iOS and Android smart devices, but this is achieved somewhat indirectly: for example, while Xbox Game Pass can be played on Apple devices, this is — technically speaking — performed via the device’s web browser and not a dedicated application. This can limit game performance amongst other things; the Digital Markets Act, set to come into effect in March 2024, will open up avenues for companies like Microsoft to develop custom-built apps to run their services on third party devices as they see fit.
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