Although most of the attention currently is drawn to Microsoft’s planned acquisition for Activision Blizzard nearly two years since its announcement, the Xbox firm’s ambition for cloud streaming extends well before the latest purchase. One of its biggest talking points is the reach the current deal has on mobile. Xbox boss Phil Spencer pressed on this when sharing PC & mobile especially is the main focal point for the $69 billion transaction.
Outside of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft even considered other candidates before the conglomerate publisher. One court document revealed Square Enix was on the list as well – solely for mobile considering the IPs on hand. Elsewhere, a separate report disclosed Microsoft intentionally overlooking the launch of Xbox Series X|S for better presence with Xbox Cloud Gaming also.
In a recent interview with Eurogamer, Spencer elaborates on how essential mobile is for Microsoft’s success in the current market; console & PC being a smaller factor on its behalf.
The reason we’re in the acquisition discussion with Activision Blizzard King is around their mobile capability. Because it’s just something we don’t have. We obviously already have Call of Duty on our platform, we already have Diablo on our platform. So it’s not about new games that Xbox players don’t have access to today. It is about a capability on mobile, and some broader ambitions that we have on the largest gaming platform, which is mobile phones.
“Any kind of other plan for us would continue to be about: how do we find relevance in the mobile space? And I think there are other paths to make that happen. But when we looked at the universe of creators – I know most people think about Activision probably in the console, PC [space], but if you look from their finances, the business is actually almost the exact opposite,” Spencer continues.
“So any other plan would still be about [that]. We think that for Xbox to continue to thrive, we need to have some relevant place in the whole province.” Putting all things into consideration, a Xbox Gaming mobile storefront is also an idea Spencer has left on the burner. Previously, the U.K. CMA submitted a document sharing Microsoft’s interest in creating a mobile store for its platform.
“We think that’s important. Yeah. So that’s something we’re looking at as well. And when we look at that the reason we think content is important there is, ‘how do you attract people to your stores?’”.
If you go back to the origins of how Steam got created, that was about a place for Valve to distribute their content. Why did the players go there? Because Half-Life was awesome. And people wanted to find the expansion packs and other things. So when we look at going into another platform, hopefully that is open to other storefronts, which isn’t true globally today.
“We know that having content to draw interest from players, which then draws interest from creators to create, is a model where creators will say, ‘Hey, here’s a place where I also might want to put our content on mobile phones’, [which] is an important ingredient.” Overall, the current framework aiming for Activision Blizzard remains ultimately in grasp by Microsoft amid new reworking with Ubisoft to please the CMA’s objections.
“I remain confident in in the deal. We’re obviously working constructively with regulators. It’s my first time doing a deal of the size in the regulatory process. Maybe that’s obvious now from the outside! But we remain confident in the process.” What is your thoughts on Spencer’s ambitions for mobile as of late?