The Verge journalist Tom Warren made a guest appearance on the latest episode of the Iron Lords Podcast to discuss the aftermath of Microsoft’s Xbox successful closure of the $68.7 billion merger with Activision Blizzard. Warren highlighted the importance of the mobile market in this deal, adding that Microsoft still aims to release an Xbox mobile store at some point next year.
For them, it’s the control aspect of these games. Having them on Game Pass. I think a lot of this hasn’t really been talked about because it’s been overshadowed by the CMA stuff, the cloud stuff, is mobile. All that mobile stuff is huge.
I think obviously people who play on console and PC probably don’t care as much, but mobile is making money, more money than consoles. That’s going to be the key, I think.
It all ties in with Microsoft making an Xbox mobile store that could potentially launch next year, depending on some of the EU regulations that could open up the mobile stores. If all that stuff comes together, then having a good amount of mobile games that you’re publishing is going to be super interesting.
We’ve seen Apple introducing games like Resident Evil Village and stuff to the iPhone 15 Pro. We’re on the cusp where mobile might become a lot more interesting and have native games there, not just cloud.
It sounds like the Xbox mobile store is still on track for a 2024 launch. As you may recall, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer had first announced it as a strong possibility upon closure of the Activision Blizzard deal:
We want to be in a position to offer Xbox and content from both our third-party partners and us across any screen where somebody would want to play. Today, we can’t do that on mobile devices, but we want to build towards a world that we think will be coming where those devices are opened up. The Digital Markets Act that’s coming — those are the kinds of things that we are planning for. I think it’s a huge opportunity.
Earlier, Spencer said Activision Blizzard King’s mobile strength was a key factor in the acquisition as Microsoft had concluded that gaming’s business would be untenable without a strong position in the ever-growing mobile market.
Absolutely. In addition, the number that’s not in the Candy Crush/King number is Call of Duty: Mobile and Diablo mobile, which are big franchises that exist in that Activision and Blizzard bucket that are also major players on phones.
Activision/Blizzard/King are now in a position where they have great PC franchises, great console franchises, and great mobile franchises. The real differentiation that they add for Microsoft is their mobile capability.
Are you excited about the prospect of an Xbox mobile store coming up in 2024?