Xsolla targets 10x growth as it prepares to seize the direct-to-consumer moment


The clock is ticking on the EU’s Digital Markets Act, which is designed to force Apple and Google into opening up their stores to alternative payment methods, sideloading and stores-within-stores. And Xsolla’s ready to pounce on the opportunity.

DMA measures are meant to go into effect across Europe from March 2024, and could represent something of a watershed for this type of regulation as other governments around the world, including South Korea and Japan, look to break up the status quo.

Of course, Apple and Google will do their best to protect their 30% cut, and each have already been engaged in some chicanery to do so already. Nonetheless, Xsolla is getting ready for those floodgates to open with its suite of alternative payment options and web shops, the latter of which allow devs to go direct to players and, of course, skip the 30% app store tax.

From December 2022: ‘Apple won’t surrender its 30% without a fight, even if it does allow alternative app stores‘.

“Internally there’s a few people like myself beating the drum,” Xsolla president and interim CEO Chris Hewish tells us as he repeats his mantra: “‘We gotta be ready, we gotta be ready…’”

Xsolla has been ready to go for some time. The company told us in August 2022 that it has all the APIs and documentation it needs to launch day one if Apple and Google were forced to open up their stores to alternative payments.

And that day might finally come across Europe in March 2024, which is why Hewish is so bullish about the firm’s future. “We’re at that stage that companies get to where we’ve kind of done the entrepreneurial thing, we’ve figured out our core business, and now it’s all about restructuring so you can scale to get to that 10x dream,” he says.

From August 2022: ‘Xsolla: Apple and Google are “the grandpas that overstayed their welcome at Christmas”‘.

Hewish has seen this kind of rapid growth before – he joined Activision when it was just 100 people, and worked there for 13 years. “I believe in the dream, i’ve seen it’s possible and i’ve seen it in practice,” he says.

So March 2024 should represent a big step for the company, Hewish continues. “Not many people have been really watching [the Digital Markets Act] but we’re starting to get people’s attention because we’re getting closer to it…”

“The feedback that we’re getting is very similar to what happened with our webshops,” Hewish continues. “We took it out to mobile publishers, and all of them were like: ‘This sounds great, but we don’t want to piss off Apple, how do we do this?’”

Xsolla works with a multitude of publishers like Wildlife to provide direct-to-consumer web shops which dodge that 30% app store tax.

“And so then it was that incremental thing of finding a few people that were willing to jump in, and then that encouraged some bigger and bigger people.”

Hewish adds that Apple, in particular, has been “oddly quiet” on the coming changes. “I don’t know if they just realise they have no recourse because it is a regulation – it’s written law.”

“We’re not in the final, final round yet, so we’ll see…” he adds. “We just want to be there to support our partners, so we have already started looking at some new features and product offerings we can have ready to go.”

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