Microsoft looks to build an Xbox mobile gaming store with Activision and King content

As the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigates Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft recently revealed in its filings with the CMA that it plans to create a new “Xbox Mobile Platform” that will include mobile games by Activision and King.

“The transaction will improve Microsoft’s ability to create a next-generation game store that operates across a range of devices, including mobile, as a result of the addition of Activision Blizzard’s content. Building on Activision Blizzard’s existing communities of gamers, Xbox will seek to scale the Xbox Store to mobile, attracting gamers to a new Xbox Mobile Platform,” the company wrote in its filings.

Mobile games are some of the most popular downloads on app stores, so it’s no surprise that Microsoft wants to get in on the action. A graph on Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition site showed that the mobile gaming market was worth $85 billion in 2020.

Microsoft added in its filings with the CMA, “Mobile gaming revenues from the King division and titles such as ‘Call of Duty: Mobile,’ as well as ancillary revenue, represented more than half of Activision Blizzard’s revenues and in the first half of 2022.”

The deal with Activision Blizzard seems to be Microsoft’s answer for building out its mobile gaming presence and competing with rivals Google and Apple.

However, it’s not going to be easy to compete against the tech giants. A gaming study by and IDC found that, in the first quarter of 2022, consumers spent more than $1.6 billion per week on mobile games on both the App Store and Google Play store.

“Shifting consumers away from the Google Play Store and App Store on mobile devices will, however, require a major shift in consumer behavior. Microsoft hopes that by offering well-known and popular content, gamers will be more inclined to try something new,” Microsoft added.

In August, Sony’s PlayStation announced the acquisition of Savage Game Studios. Xbox’s competitor said that the mobile game developer would join its new PlayStation Studios Mobile Division to help with its mobile gaming efforts.

Another — admittedly smaller — competitor in the mobile gaming space is streaming giant Netflix. The company recently announced two new game studios in California and Finland. However, it’s struggling to attract gamers. A recent report showed that fewer than 1% of its subscribers play Netflix mobile games.