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Microsoft launching web-based mobile game storefront in July

The marketplace will initially house first-party titles, but external partners could be ushered in 'shortly after.'

Chris Kerr, News Editor

May 10, 2024

2 Min Read
Promotional artwork for the Microsoft Store
Image via Microsoft

Microsoft will launch its own dedicated mobile game store in July 2024. Xbox president Sarah Bond shared the news with Bloomberg and said the marketplace will initially house Microsoft's own first-party titles.

The company will eventually open the store to other publishers, providing an alternative to Apple and Google's app stores and their respective platform fees.

Bond explained Microsoft's digital bazaar will launch on the web to ensure it is "accessible across all devices, all counters, no matter what, independent of the policies of closed ecosystem stores."

Microsoft is pushing ahead with its plans for a mobile storefront after completing its $68.7 billion merger with Activision Blizzard. That deal also made it the owner of Candy Crush developer and all-round mobile powerhouse King.

Bond explained a core reason Microsoft pushed so hard for that deal was to bolster its mobile business, noting the company "felt strongly" there was an opportunity to create an experience on mobile that's "centered around gamers."

Catering to three billion gamers

"We talk about how there are three billion gamers in the world. Two of those billion play on mobile. And half of those play on mobile and on another device. But there isn't actually a gaming platform and store experience that is centered around players and goes truly across-device. Where who you are, your identity, your rewards travels with you versus being locked to a single ecosystem.

"We've recognized that opportunity for a long time, but we wanted to make sure that anything we built was really grounded in people who play those mobile-native games and the creators of them. And so, being joined with a team that has a real deep expertise in mobile was important to us, but we are that now."

Bond said players should initially expect to see titles like Candy Crush and Minecraft on the storefront, but emphasized Microsoft wants to bring external partners into the fold "shortly after launch."

"We really want to make sure we start and we scale using our own IP first," she said. "That allows us to ensure that the experience we bring partners into really builds on the quality and learning we have as a team."

Bond was also asked about Microsoft's recent spate of layoffs and studio closures during the interview, and explained those decisions are about ensuring "business is healthy for the long term." You can read her full thoughts on the job cuts right here or check out the full Bloomberg interview on YouTube.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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