In an interview with the Financial Times (via 9to5Mac), Microsoft Gaming head Phil Spencer says the company is heavily working in a world where Apple allows third-party app stores as it wants to bring Microsoft Xbox app store to the iPhone starting next year.
This could be possible due to the Digital Markets Act, legislation that will go into effect in the European Union in 2024. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman already reported that iOS 17 would likely feature third-party app stores, as Apple needs to comply with this rule. While the Cupertino firm will make sure only in Europe people can access third-party stores, it would have to bring this to other countries if they pass similar laws.
“The Digital Markets Act that’s coming – those are the kinds of things that we are planning for,” Spencer said in the interview. “[Microsoft 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.”
Microsoft’s executive is focused on bringing the Xbox app store to mobile as it’s “the largest platform people play on.” He wants “to build towards a world that we think will be coming where those devices are opened up.”
The Financial Times report also touches on the Activision Blizzard deal as the European Union delayed whether Microsoft can merge the studio as another of its companies. Spencer thinks games from the studio would be “critically important” in enticing iPhone users to use an Xbox app store.
While we still need to wait for Apple to announce the changes, the company will likely find a way to charge for a tax from third-party app stores. In addition, not everyone would probably be able to open a third-party app store as the company wants to prevent the iOS ecosystem from being untrusted.