Microsoft is launching a mobile game store in July 2024

Xbox is looking to avoid Apple and Google's strict rules with its own mobile games store.
candy crush cod activision blizzard microsoft mobile games

Months on from its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft has revealed plans to launch its own mobile game store, with content including Minecraft and Candy Crush set to be available on the platform. Per Xbox president Sarah Bond, the store will be an alternative to the Apple App Store and Google Play, with its launch allowing Microsoft to break away from the restrictions of its rivals.

“We’re going to start by bringing our own first-party portfolio,” Bond said at the Bloomberg Technology Summit, per The Verge. “You’re going to see games like Candy Crush show up in that experience, games like Minecraft.”

Microsoft plans to start on web, to ensure accessibility across all devices and countries “no matter what and independent of the policies of closed ecosystem stores.” Per a press release shared by The Verge, the store will allow mobile game players to “find deals on their favourite in-game items and discover new games” as a “first step in [the company’s] journey to building a trusted app store with its roots in gaming.”

Notably, both the Apple App Store and Google Play store have had legal trouble recently, with various cases alleging unfair monopoly powers over mobile devices, due to requirements around apps and games within these ecosystems. Many companies are now pushing back against these requirements, and attempting to circumvent the established mobile ecosystem.

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It appears, in some ways, Microsoft’s new mobile game store will be an extension of the existing Microsoft Store, with expanded capacity for players to purchase in-game items. Per Bond’s description, it will also allow players to carry along their “library, identity, and rewards” – although this element of the store is less clear.

As noted by The Verge, the idea for a web-only mobile store is a complicated one. It’s not clear how this store will be differentiated from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store on respective mobile devices, and what incentives players will have to rely on it.

The titles mentioned are already available on Google and Apple’s storefronts, after all, so the impetus here is odd. It may be that Microsoft plans to remove existing games from the Google and Apple ecosystem to pave the way for its mobile store – but for those details, we’ll need to stay patient.

For now, it does appear Microsoft has significant ambitions, although exact plans are yet to be formally revealed. We’re likely to learn more in the coming months, as Microsoft’s new mobile game store is prepared for launch in July 2024.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.