xbox cloud

Microsoft has officially confirmed that the company is launching its Xbox mobile game store on Android and iOS in July, and it will be bringing Candy Crush, Minecraft, and more along with it.

As a part of the Bloomberg Technology Summit today, Microsoft’s Sarah Bond, the company’s president of Xbox, confirmed that its mobile game store is launching in July. Microsoft has been talking about its plans to create an alternative game store to Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store for a while now, but this is the first time a firm date has been attached.

Beyond that, Bond also confirmed that the Xbox game store for mobile won’t be launching as a native app.

Rather, the store will “start on the web.” This allows Microsoft to distribute the store worldwide on “all devices.” Technically, the company would be able to launch its own app store on Android in any part of the globe, but iOS is another story. The EU has forced Apple to open up iOS to third-party app stores (despite Apple making that as difficult and unappealing as possible), but Apple only allows that in the EU. So by launching on the web, Microsoft can distribute its store globally on iOS.

That said, it’s unclear how these games will be distributed via the web. iOS also now supports sideloading, but again, only in the EU. It seems very like that cloud gaming could play a role.

Bond explained:

In July, we are going to be launching our mobile store experience. We’re going to start, actually, by bringing our own first-party portfolio to that. So you’re going to see games like Candy Crush show up in that experience, games like Minecraft. And then we’re going to extend that capability to partners so that they can take advantage of it and have a true cross-platform gaming-centric mobile experience.

We’re going to start on the web, and we’re doing that because that really allows us to have it be an experience that’s accessible across all devices, all countries, no matter what, independent of the policies of, you know, closed ecosystem stores. And then we’re going to extend from there.

The eventual goal, it seems, is to offer a true store alternative to Apple and Google’s offerings, complete with third-party support, but it seems that’s still a ways off.

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