Microsoft is bringing its games to iOS and Android, beginning with Age of Empires sometime in 2013, reports Japan’s Nikkei business daily. The ports are coming courtesy of mobile developer KLab, which is licensing the games from Microsoft for global distribution. Nikkei calls it a possible indication of a turning point in the gaming market, speculating that the move could even affect the mobile strategies of competitors Sony and Nintendo.
However, Age of Empires won't be the first time Microsoft has brought one of its games to the iPhone. That honor belongs to Kinectimals, which came out back in 2011. Microsoft hasn’t abandoned the platform either, releasing Twisted Pixel’s Ms. ’Splosion Man just three months ago. And while fans might be clamoring for iOS and Android ports of Halo, KLab isn’t exactly a top-tier mobile developer. It lists a dozen native titles for iOS and Android on its website, none of which inspire much confidence in its ability to tackle a big project.
What’s more likely to be happening is that Microsoft is making a little money on the side by licensing one of its under-utilized franchises to a third-party developer. And while Nikkei reports that more collaborations between KLab and Microsoft will be forthcoming, Redmond doesn't sound quite so enthusiastic. A Microsoft representative tells us that "some reports included incorrect information about additional Xbox Live-based games on iOS and Android but there are no further announcements beyond Age of Empires at this time."