Phil Spencer wants Xbox consoles to offer storefronts like Epic Games Store and

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(Image credit: Epic Games)

Microsoft's gaming head Phil Spencer has said he wants to feature more digital storefronts on Xbox consoles.

Speaking in an interview with Polygon during the Game Developers Conference 2024 (GDC), Spencer explained that he'd like to break down the walled gardens and eventually find a way to allow players to purchase games through multiple digital retailers, instead of the Xbox console's designated first-party storefront.

When Spencer was asked if he could see a future where third-party stores like the Epic Games Store or could be made available to Xbox users, he said: "Yes," using Microsoft as an example of how it utilizes Windows. 

"[Consider] our history as the Windows company,” Spencer said. "Nobody would blink twice if I said 'Hey, when you’re using a PC, you get to decide the type of experience you have [by picking where to buy games].' There’s real value in that."

The Xbox boss then went on to say that the idea of selling consoles at a loss and then regaining that money through game sales is becoming ineffective, explaining that the "price of the components of a console aren’t coming down as fast as they have in previous generations," and that the console market isn't growing as more gamers now have a PC or a handheld device as an option.

"[Subsidizing hardware] becomes more challenging in today’s world," he continues. "And I will say, and this may seem too altruistic, I don’t know that it’s growing the industry. So I think, what are the barriers? What are the things that create friction in today’s world for creators and players? And how can we be part of opening up that model?"

Spencer's solution would be offering more storefronts because he thinks the gaming experience is impacted when it comes to what consoles users play on and what stores sell certain games, saying: "If I want to play on a gaming PC, then I feel like I’m more a continuous part of a gaming ecosystem as a whole. As opposed to [on console, where] my gaming is kind of sharded - to use a gaming term - based on these different closed ecosystems that I have to play across."

Amid speculation, Spencer also recently revealed what he would love in an Xbox handheld, explaining that there is a "list of things" he wants to do and that the Xbox hardware team is considering "different hardware form factors and things that [they] could go do."

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