Microsoft is planning a new games app store for iPhone

Xbox Phil Spencer 20th Anniversary
(Image credit: Xbox)

Microsoft wants to launch a new app store for games on iPhone and Android as soon as next year, according to the CEO of Microsoft Gaming, Phil Spencer.

Speaking in an interview ahead of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, Spencer hinted at bringing a new way of playing games to iPhone once the EU's Digital Markets Act comes into play in March 2024. These new EU rules would require Apple to open iOS to third-party app stores like Alt Store.

“We want to be in a position to offer Xbox and content from both us and our third-party partners across any screen where somebody would want to play,”

“Today, we can’t do that on mobile devices but we want to build towards a world that we think will be coming where those devices are opened up.”

A new way to play

Microsoft is currently in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard for $75bn despite continuous fighting with regulators in the U.S., Europe, and the UK. The regulators have raised concerns over competition, and the impact that buying the developer of Call of Duty would have on other platforms like Sony's PlayStation.

Currently, Microsoft cannot offer gaming applications like its Xbox Cloud Gaming streaming service directly on the App Store as Apple states the application violates Apple's App Store guidelines as they provide access to apps and games Apple can't individually review. 

When EU regulations come to fruition, Microsoft should be able to finally offer Xbox Cloud Gaming through the App Store alongside this new games app store akin to the Xbox Marketplace, where users can buy console games at the click of a button. 

In the meantime, you can install Xbox Cloud Gaming reasonably easily and use some of the best iPhones, like the iPhone 14 Pro, as a handheld games console with console-quality games unavailable on the App Store. 

John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself.

Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings.

John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019. 

John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.