Recently, Microsoft made a PR blogpost meant to address head on its oncoming regulatory review for its purchase of ABK. The headline that got the most publicity was Microsoft committing to maintain Call of Duty as a multi-platform product, but the main thrust of the blog post was far more broad and frankly important.
In it, Microsoft committed to open storefront principles, in what can only be interpreted as a clear shot at Apple and Google. They recommitted to supporting competing storefronts and apps on windows, and supported new legislation to force these principles on other ecosystems. One such bill is currently in congress:
This bill seems to specifically target “general purpose computing devices”, but applied broadly enough that could be any device that supports web browser functionality, or *could* support such functionality. This bill (or something similar) would force closed ecosystem devices to allow side loading of apps and alternative store fronts and payment methods.
It should be immediately apparent why this would be worrisome for a console manufacturer, especially one that sells hardware at break even or a loss and makes up the profit on the back end via a closed storefront.
Should this or a similar bill pass, and should it be applied to game consoles, what would be the next move for a Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo? The entire basis for Sony and Microsoft’s console business in particular is based on collecting store fees in their closed storefronts. What do they do if every publisher is able to install their own storefronts on game consoles, circumventing the main storefronts and the 30% fees on all games and micro transactions?