Microsoft aims to shake up the mobile gaming market next year

21 Mar 2023

Image: © sdx15/

Microsoft’s gaming head Phil Spencer believes the Digital Markets Act will help the company’s entry into mobile gaming, but its Activision-Blizzard deal still has potential roadblocks ahead.

Microsoft is looking to enter the mobile gaming market if its Activision-Blizzard acquisition is approved by regulators, according to an interview with the Financial Times.

The company made the monumental move to acquire the game company last year in a deal worth nearly $70bn that would make it the third-largest game company in the world by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.

However, this acquisition has faced roadblocks from multiple government organisations, due to concerns that the deal could “harm rivals” and “substantially lessen competition” in the gaming sector by refusing smaller companies access to Activision games or providing access on much worse terms.

But in an interview with the Financial Times, the head of Microsoft’s gaming business, Phil Spencer, argued that the deal could boost competition in the mobile gaming market, by impacting the “duopoly” dominance that Apple and Google have in this sector.

Spencer also believes the EU’s upcoming Digital Markets Act (DMA) will create an “opportunity” for Microsoft in the mobile gaming market. This act is expected to come into force next year.

The DMA will force gatekeeper companies – or dominant companies in certain sectors – to let third parties interoperate with their own services to give users greater choice and prevent them from being restricted to key apps or platforms.

Spencer believes this will create an opening in the mobile gaming market by forcing Apple and Google to accept app stores that belong to other companies.

However, it is unclear when – or if – the Activision-Blizzard deal will be approved. Last month, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority provisionally found that the deal could harm 45m gamers in the country.

The European Commission launched its own in-depth investigation into the deal last November due to similar competition concerns. The commission had until 23 March to make a decision on Microsoft’s planned acquisition, but has reportedly extended this deadline until 22 May.

Crypto wallet rumours

Meanwhile, there are reports that Microsoft is working on a new crypto feature to be built directly into the Edge browser.

Screenshots of the feature were shared on Twitter by Albacore, who appears to frequently shares Microsoft test features. Following this, the crypto wallet feature was also tested by BleepingComputer.

The current test build wallet reportedly creates an Ethereum address to allow users to receive funds through the Ethereum network.

“As a tester, you will use your own funds. In the event of loss of funds, Microsoft will not reimburse any loss,” Microsoft says in the screenshots. “This is a confidential project and no details should be shared externally.”

Microsoft has had a partnership with blockchain software provider ConsenSys for years, as part of its efforts to make the public Ethereum blockchain safe and secure for enterprise use.

It’s unclear when this Edge feature will be released. A company spokesperson told BleepingComputer that it regularly tests features and looks forward to collecting feedback but they have “nothing further to share at this time”.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic