Microsoft is going to launch its mobile Xbox game store on iPhone soon — here's how it's going to get around Apple's strict rules

iPhone 15 Pro Max
(Image credit: Future / Apple)

Microsoft will be finally bringing its own Xbox game store to the best iPhones in a few short months — although it’s not doing it in the way you might think.

Given the very public feud between Apple and Epic Games, one might have assumed that Microsoft would use Apple’s compliance with the Digital Markets Act to push through an EU-specific app for use on an alternate app store. In the EU, Apple is being forced to open its walled garden to outside companies, who may wish to sell their products without Apple taking a commission.

However, Microsoft’s Xbox president Sarah Band announced at the Bloomberg Tech summit that this is not how Microsoft intends to publish its own mobile Xbox game store.

Bond said that Microsoft is working on a web app, much like that needed to get Xbox Game Pass Cloud Streaming working on iOS outside the EU. Bond says “That allows us to have it be an experience that’s accessible across all devices, all countries, no matter what. Independent of the policies of closed ecosystem stores”. She claims that the Xbox game store will be a “true cross-platform gaming-centric mobile experience”, stating it will offer games like Minecraft and Candy Crush at the start. What’s interesting about this is Microsoft will “extend that capability to partners so that they can take advantage of it”.

What does this mean for Microsoft?

Microsoft is currently embroiled in controversy from the wider gaming industry for closing four studios this week: Tango GameWorks, Arkane Austin, Alpha Dog Games, and Roundhouse Studios. Though this may negatively impact the company in regards to a more dedicated gaming userbase, Microsoft is attempting to garner a more casual fanbase here, and those looking to simply play Candy Crush Saga or Minecraft may not be aware of this.

After acquiring Activision Blizzard for $75 billion dollars last year, and Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile having a big launch just months ago, this push into mobile could signify a new direction for the company. Offering to partner with other publishers and developers to get their games on iOS could also mean Microsoft becoming the middleman in mobile gaming that Apple has traditionally been with its App Store. The web app is due to launch in July so we’ll will know much more about the company’s intentions then.

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James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.