Microsoft Opens Up Its App Store, Will Honor Activision Blizzard Commitments On PlayStation "Into The Future"

Focus is "on adapting to regulation than fighting against it."

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor February 9, 2022
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Today Microsoft announced the approach it would be taking its various app marketplaces on its systems in the future, which in large part boiled down to "openness" everywhere. "We want to enable world-class content to reach every gamer more easily across every platform," said President and Vice Chair Brad Smith, and that will apply not only to games on Windows-enabled PCs and the Microsoft Store but also to Activision Blizzard titles on non-Microsoft systems.

Smith announced a series of 11 principles for the Microsoft App Store that are designed to remove "friction" and specifically work contrary to "app store policies and practices on mobile devices [that] restrict what and how creators can offer games and what and how gamers can play them." Notably, developers in the app store will not be required to use Microsoft's payment system, do not need to provide more favorable terms in their app store, and can communicate directly with customers. These directives stand in marked contrast to the restrictions Apple has continued to maintain in its store, especially as it resists Epic Games' attempts to pry that venue open.

All of this isn't being done simply as a goodwill measure by Microsoft. The title of the piece is "Adapting Ahead Of Regulation," and regulatory attempts by various governments are mentioned several times throughout. "We want regulators and the public to know that as a company, Microsoft is committed to adapting to these new laws, and with these principles, we’re moving to do so," Smith said. "As a company, we continue to be more focused on adapting to regulation than fighting against it."

Also mentioned was the regulatory approval Microsoft is seeking for its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, as well as concerns that players have regarding whether popular Activision franchises, such as Call of Duty, would continue to be offered on non-Microsoft platforms. Smith said that "we have committed to Sony that we will also make them available on PlayStation beyond the existing agreement and into the future so that Sony fans can continue to enjoy the games they love. We are also interested in taking similar steps to support Nintendo’s successful platform."

However, the principles he outlined for the Microsoft Store do not yet wholly apply to the Xbox Store, since current legislation is targeting "PCs, mobile phones and other general purpose computing devices." Nevertheless, Smith said that seven of the 11 principles -- regarding security, quality, accountability, and fairness but excluding the ones regarding payment options -- will be adapted for the Xbox, while Microsoft remains "committed to closing the gap on the remaining principles over time."

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About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

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