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Xbox and Tencent just joined forces — what it means for mobile gaming

Here’s the most underrated feature of PS5 and Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Xbox Series X franchises like Halo and Gears of War would make commuting to work more fun if you could play them on your iPhone 12. Well, it might become a possibility thanks to this recent partnership.

Per a recent release (Chinese), Xbox Game Studios have teamed up with TiMi, a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate Tencent. While you can play Xbox console titles on your phone with Game Pass Ultimate, that’s not what this is. Tencent is a titan in the mobile gaming industry, so it seems likely Microsoft is hoping to make the leap to mobile-only gaming. 

All we have to go on right now is the announcement of this partnership, with no actual details that reveal what’s going to happen. Obviously Tencent has been behind a lot of the most popular mobile games, while TiMi has been responsible for the likes of Call of Duty Mobile and PUBG Army Attack.

It’s not clear what franchises Microsoft has planned for mobile, but there are plenty of good candidates. Gears of War has already made the leap to mobile with the Funko Pop!-themes ‘Gears Pop!’ Likewise, Xbox’s flagship Halo franchise is a strong contender for mobile, especially given the success of CoD Mobile and Halo’s strong multiplayer presence.

As a Halo fan, I can’t say I’m particularly thrilled at that prospect. Previous attempts to bring Halo to mobile failed to resonate with audiences, though that may just have been down to the fact they were exclusive to Windows Phone. Remember Windows Phone?

Recent Halo titles have also been criticized for the inclusion of microtransactions, something mobile games are notorious for. Call of Duty Mobile has a bunch, and loot boxes that were introduced late last year have proven to be extremely unpopular with fans. Traditionally microtransactions worked as any other storefront. Gamers bought the items they found most interesting. Loot boxes makes acquisition feel more like gambling, where gamers must buy a mystery pack in the hopes to getting the item they want.

It’s impossible to really discuss this at great length, because we don’t know the specifics of the deal. At the very least a mobile gaming venture can give gamers a way to play on the go without having to subscribe to Game Pass Ultimate. Though I’d wager Microsoft will add some sort of Game Pass functionality to any hypothetical mobile titles that come about.