Microsoft will reportedly launch an Xbox mobile store featuring games like Minecraft, Candy Crush

During the Bloomberg Technology Summit on Friday, Xbox president Sarah Bond Bond revealed that Microsoft will release its own online store sometime in July. It will be a browser-based offering that will feature first-party games in the publisher’s portfolio, along with in-game items for games like Minecraft and Candy Crush.

“This year, we will debut our first mobile offering where mobile players can find deals on their favorite in-game items and discover new games, starting on the web so players can access it anywhere,” said Bond. “This web-based store is the first step in our journey to building a trusted app store with its roots in gaming.” 

Steve from Minecraft mounted on a horse.
Games like Minecraft will be featured in the store. Image via Mojang

Bond emphasized that the store is web-based because it will allow players to access their Microsoft content anywhere they wish so that it “goes truly across devices—where who you are, your library, your identity, your rewards travel with you versus being locked to a single ecosystem.”

Not having to pay Apple or Google is likely also a factor in this. During the interview, Bond notably confirmed that the website will eventually “extend” beyond the web, which likely means that the store will launch on other platforms in the future. While the website will only feature Xbox’s first-party games at first, Bond says that the company will open the store to other publishers in the future, allowing it to directly rival Apple and Google.

The timing is odd, to say the least, as the announcement comes a few days after Microsoft announced that Xbox has shut down several studios—Arkane Austin, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog Studios, and Roundhouse Games. Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty notably claimed that the company needs “smaller games” that give them prestige and awards shortly after closing Hi-FI Rush studio Tango Gameworks.

When asked why the studio was shut down despite the game being a breakout success in a recent Bloomberg interview, Sarah Bond stated that the company looks “at each studio, each game team, and we look at a whole variety of factors when [it’s] faced with sort of making decisions and tradeoffs like that.”

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