Xbox Mobile Game Store for Android and iOS Debuts in July

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Key Takeaways

  • Microsoft has revealed that its Xbox mobile game store opens in July.
  • The shop will give Android and iOS users an alternative to their official app stores.
  • The store will be available on the web at first.

Microsoft Xbox president Sarah Bond has revealed that the company’s mobile game store for Android and iOS will open in July.

Speaking at the Bloomberg Technology Summit, Bond said the Xbox game store would initially offer Candy CrushMinecraft, and other in-house titles before carrying third-party releases. It would “start on the web” to reach all possible devices and countries.

The executive didn’t say how Microsoft would distribute apps, or how much the pricing or app features might change.

Microsoft has repeatedly called for Apple and Google to loosen the policies in their official app stores. It has called for more freedom on in-app purchasing systems, and for Apple to loosen its restrictions on cloud gaming services. The Windows creator has backed Epic Games’ lawsuit against Apple, as well as antitrust complaints.

The Xbox mobile game store is possible in part due to European Union requirements that Apple let iPhone and iPad users bypass the App Store by downloading software through the web. While Apple’s terms (such as an app installation fee for popular titles) could discourage developers, this lets Microsoft run its own store and deliver apps that venture beyond Apple’s usual rules.

Android users can already download apps from the web if they enable sideloading. Google Play is still the dominant source for apps on the platform, however, and web stores for Android generally haven’t been popular in regions like North America.

The Xbox game store won’t be useful to iPhone and iPad users outside of the EU, as Apple isn’t offering the same flexibility elsewhere. The initial focus on first-party apps may also limit its appeal to gamers, even if the shop will likely include Activision Blizzard releases like Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile.

Even so, the portal might show the way forward for mobile apps in the future. While first-party stores are unlikely to vanish, they’ll likely have to compete against a growing number of third-party alternatives from major industry names.