Microsoft’s Power Move: Activision Blizzard’s Mobile Store Revealed

Activision Blizzard had strategic plans to establish its own mobile game store, as revealed through court documents in the ongoing Epic Games and Google antitrust jury trial. The documents unveiled internal discussions and proposals in 2019, demonstrating the gaming giant’s intent to solidify its presence in the lucrative mobile games market.

Correspondence between Activision Blizzard CFO Armin Zerza and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney outlined a blueprint for the creation of a mobile storefront, colloquially referred to as the “Steam of Mobile.” The envisioned platform aimed to operate on a unique payment system, featuring a reduced transaction fee ranging between 10% and 12%, in contrast to the 30% fees imposed by other competitors like Google.

The proposed store was slated for an initial release on Android, followed by iOS. Activision Blizzard intended to introduce a pilot version of the storefront, serving as a minimum viable product. This initial launch would have been limited to the US market and featured games from King, including the popular Candy Crush franchise.

During a deposition, Zerza clarified that the idea of the app store was in the early stages of exploration and was ultimately abandoned due to its lack of financial viability. Instead, Activision Blizzard pursued an alternative route, finalizing a $100 million deal with Google. This comprehensive agreement covered various aspects, encompassing mobile, YouTube, advertising, media spend, and cloud services.

The Verge hinted that this deal was the preferred option for Activision Blizzard and the one ultimately executed by the company. While Epic Games alleged that Google essentially paid Activision Blizzard to secure this deal and thwart the emergence of a competing mobile store on Android, Activision Blizzard dismissed these claims as baseless during the original lawsuit.

Now under Microsoft’s ownership, Activision Blizzard is an integral part of Microsoft’s strategic vision to establish its own mobile storefront. Xbox boss Phil Spencer recently disclosed ongoing collaborations with undisclosed partners to advance this plan, first disclosed in October of the previous year during Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Leave a Comment