Edt on February 10, 2022, Microsoft announced a new set of rules for its app Store. The rules are similar to those published two years ago, covering data security, user privacy, accountability, transparency, payment rules and developer choice.
Brad Smith, President and vice chairman of Microsoft, said: “The rules we’ve announced are about ensuring the best possible experience for all types of creators and users.”
A closer look suggests that Microsoft’s move may have other motives as well. Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard could give Xbox a unique competitive advantage, but if the deal goes through, it could raise concerns about unfair competition.
To ease those concerns, Smith mentioned that Microsoft would not change the term of Activision Blizzard’s contract with SONY on call of Duty games, and promised to renew it when it expires in 2024. At the same time, he said, “Microsoft would love to put Activision Blizzard games on Nintendo devices.”
The new rules are expected to change the Xbox business model, but some of the rules apply only to Microsoft’s Windows Store, not its Xbox Store.
It’s worth noting that, in terms of features, the Xbox has some features. Generally speaking, in order to attract users, many game developers in the market usually design some bloody and violent scenes in the game scenes, which will bring certain harm to minors with weak self-control ability.
The Xbox, on the other hand, is positioned differently from traditional games, with the slogan “safe gaming environment for all.” Xbox believes in giving every gamer a self-defined boundary where they can play without intimidation or violence.
Microsoft has even built parental controls into Xbox Series X/S and XboxOne devices. Once you create a family group, you can access family functions and parental controls, and monitor your child’s online play time, social interactions, and in-game payments.
When the child wants to pay in the game or asks the parents to help buy, the parents will receive a payment request email, and the parents will decide whether to buy or not. This feature is beneficial to the healthy growth of minors.
However, how users pay for the Xbox App Store is a point of contention. Previously, Microsoft had argued that the business model of the Xbox AppStore should be different from that of mobile phones or PCS, charging users 30 percent for digital games purchased in the Xbox AppStore, similar to apple’s AppStore model for in-app apps.
Microsoft has said it makes virtually no money from sales of its Xbox console alone, and that its revenue comes mainly from subscriptions to its online gaming service, a profitable model for free-to-play games that rely on online gaming systems to monetize them. Although this business model can bring objective profits, considering various factors, it still needs to be changed.
Microsoft announced in September 2021 that after the Windows 11 launch, the Windows App Store would no longer share revenue from developers using Microsoft Pay for transactions. Microsoft also promised developers that when users purchased services within the Xbox App Store, Microsoft’s own payment system will not be mandatory.
According to the release, “Microsoft promises that apps that are treated equally in the App Store will not use non-public information from the App Store to compete with other developers’ apps or intentionally rank their apps higher than others.” There is no monopoly on download rights, and all Windows users can still choose another app store or download targeted apps from other Internet sites.
As one of Microsoft’s competitors, Apple has not made this change at present. One of the reasons for Microsoft to adjust its operation strategy may be related to the acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Since 2021, the meta-universe has been pursued by many science and technology companies. Microsoft, which started with technology, does not want to miss this storm. To seize the dominant power of the meta-universe may be the top task at present.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard will improve access to Xbox cloud gaming services, allowing people to enjoy an immersive experience anytime, anywhere.
Beyond sheer excitement, games can help autistic children make new friends and provide solace to older people with Alzheimer’s disease, improving their memory. Researchers have found that games can help adults develop leadership skills, reduce stress, help people recover from depression, and teach children numeracy skills and empathy.
Microsoft is building a “differentiated gaming app store” based on the new rules, but technology and other constraints mean it’s still some way off. There is no official word on when the Xbox Store will be more open.