What Industry Leaders are saying about the Xbox Mobile App Store

A mixed bag.

Microsoft is gearing up to launch the Xbox Mobile Gaming App Store in July. While some opinions are advocating for this big change in the industry, many are skeptical about this move from Xbox concerning Xbox’s future and its entry into the mobile app store. To understand this situation, we at GamingonPhone talked with the mobile games industry veterans to know their opinions and understand what they think about this situation and how they envision the future of the alternate app store ecosystem with the approval of the Xbox Mobile App Store.

Klaas Kersting, Founder & CEO, Phoenix Games

Klaas Kersting
Klaas Kersting, CEO at Phoenix Games

It has long been apparent that the current app store duopoly cannot last forever. Developers and publishers of mobile games are actively seeking ways to bypass Apple and Google’s payment systems to avoid exorbitant commissions. The legal dispute between Apple and Epic has underscored this issue. Therefore, Microsoft’s announcement of its app store for games comes as no surprise.

What’s interesting is Microsoft’s decision to design the store as a web-based platform. This allows assumptions to be made about the strategy: instead of creating a direct competitor to the App Store and Play Store, Microsoft is keeping multiple options open for both game distribution and in-game sales. In my view, the great potential of web-based solutions for game distribution and the processing of in-app transactions is becoming increasingly apparent.

Initially, mainly Microsoft’s titles will be available in the store, but it is likely just a matter of time before it opens to other providers. For developers and publishers, any alternative distribution channels alongside the existing stores is good news.

Pasqual Batalla, COO, Sandsoft 

Pasqual Batalla, Xbox Mobile App Store opinions
Pasqual Batalla

The Xbox mobile store’s arrival could revolutionize mobile gaming, offering titles like Candy Crush and Minecraft with exclusive discounts. Its cross-platform play feature could set it apart, but success hinges on a smooth user experience and competition with Apple’s App Store and Google Play. With Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the Xbox mobile store gains access to popular games like Call of Duty and Warcraft, potentially driving engagement and profits.

While attracting users is crucial, Microsoft’s commitment to developers and publishers is equally vital. The store’s launch may intensify competition and innovation among existing app stores. Smaller developers could reach new audiences, while larger competitors may face increased pressure. Overall, Microsoft’s proactive approach presents a significant opportunity to expand its presence in mobile gaming and provide consumers with an alternative gaming experience.

Jen Donahoe, CMO, JadeInferno Consulting

Jen Danahoe
Jen Donahoe

I think we all believe that more competition in mobile distribution is great for the entire industry. Microsoft is taking a “crawl, walk, run” approach and starting small to find the best approach while the legal challenges work themselves out. Don’t count out one of the largest tech companies in the world, but don’t count them in just yet either.

Ealing Ng, Business Development Director, Aptoide

Ealing ng
Ealing Ng, BD Director at Aptoide

In general, the launch of the Xbox mobile store can help Microsoft gain a share of the mobile game market, but Microsoft’s entry will not fundamentally change the entire mobile game market.

Xbox is one of the most renowned console game platforms, known for its successful subscription model, which has been extended from Xbox to PC. Users pay a subscription fee to play games on either Xbox or PC. This business model focuses on gaming content and services rather than the Xbox console itself, similar to Microsoft’s Office system.

Microsoft has acquired top game developers like King and Blizzard Activision to enter the mobile game industry, with numerous mobile game projects currently under development. They also have a strong partnership with Tencent Games, ensuring that the gaming content for the Xbox Mobile Store is substantial. This makes it easier for Microsoft to compete directly with Google Play and the App Store.

Christian Lövstedt, General Manager, Midjiwan

Christian Lövstedt
Christian Lövstedt

Despite plenty of talk surrounding the Digital Markets Act, I’m skeptical as to whether an alternative app store can secure a strong presence in this market. Still, if anyone has the experience and financial strength needed to succeed with an endeavor like this, it’s Microsoft.

Justin Welter, VP of Revenue, Stardust

Justin Welter
Justin Welter

Despite the allure of a new platform, user and game developer migration to Microsoft’s store remains doubtful due to entrenched user habits and the robust ecosystems provided by the existing tech giants. The app store taxes charged by the incumbents, which can consume up to 30% of in-app purchase revenue, have long been a sore point for developers. Microsoft’s entry into this arena does not necessarily signal relief for developers but rather indicates another tech company eager to claim a slice of this lucrative pie. 

Teemu Haila, CPO & Co-Founder, Metaplay

Teemu Haila, Xbox Mobile App Store opinions
Teemu Haila

Another established name with globally-recognized games committing to launching a new mobile app store can only be good news for mobile developers and players. Discovery has long been broken, and the promise of more platforms for finding new titles is exciting.

What’s interesting about the Xbox case is the breadth and depth of brands, studios, and games under the Microsoft umbrella – being able to go to market with many leading titles already under their belt will stand them in great stead, and all the signs are pointing to the Xbox app store being a real, viable alternative to the distribution channels we’re already so familiar with. While in many ways this move felt inevitable, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t welcome it. I’m sure I’m not the only one looking forward to seeing how this space continues to evolve over the coming months.

Yassine Tahi, CEO and Co-founder, Kinetix

Yassine Tahi
Yassine Tahi

I see Microsoft’s introduction of the Xbox mobile gaming store as a pivotal move in an industry largely dominated by tech titans like Apple and Google. By stepping into the mobile gaming arena, Microsoft is not only expanding the market but also injecting healthy competition into a space where innovation is key.

With Microsoft’s entry, we may witness a shift in dynamics, with players benefitting from increased options, competitive pricing, and innovative gaming experiences. Moreover, Microsoft’s emphasis on cross-platform gaming experiences, allowing players to seamlessly transition from mobile to console and vice versa, further enhances the accessibility and flexibility of gaming, promising an exciting future for gamers everywhere.”

Ben Cousens, CSO, ZBD

Ben Cousens, Xbox Mobile App Store opinions
Ben Cousens

At this point, it seems inevitable that Google and Apple will have to open up the gates and let other companies run their app and IAP stores. It’s also inevitable that large companies like Microsoft will be the first movers here, as they have the most to gain as well as the resources to fight this fight.

Perhaps more importantly for gaining actual user traction, they have the brand loyalty from their existing platforms – in this case, it’s Xbox, but how long before we see Sony following suit with Playstation? This is a positive development for the market. The big players will pave the way and once a new landscape is established, smaller companies and startups will be able to follow suit. That’s where the real innovation starts. Walled gardens can’t last forever in the open playground that is the internet. The games industry is realizing how much revenue potential lies in direct-to-consumer sales and, once the floodgates open, they’re not closing again.

What are your thoughts on these industry opinions about the upcoming Xbox Mobile Gaming App Store? tell us in the comments!

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