Mobile game industry heating up as Apple, Google push for exclusivity deals with developers

By Alexandra Burlacu | Apr 21, 2014 07:36 AM EDT

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As competition is heating up even further, both Apple and Google are reportedly pushing for exclusivity deals with game developers to boost their respective platforms' popularity.

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Rumors about such agreements first started to surface last year, when various reports pointed to a deal between Apple and EA for the popular Plants vs. Zombies 2, but nothing was concrete at that point.

While still nothing is confirmed, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has now published a report claiming that both Apple and Google are pursuing such exclusivity deals with game developers. According to the publication, Apple did not offer to pay developers for exclusivity, but has instead offered them "premium placement" such as featured spots on its home page if they agree to launch their titles on iOS first.

When it comes to the rumored Plants vs Zombies deal, the WSJ claims that EA did indeed team up with Apple for roughly two months of exclusivity.

"Last August, for the launch of 'Plants Vs. Zombies 2," a highly anticipated sequel to a popular zombie-survival strategy game, publisher Electronic Arts Inc. struck a deal with Apple, which promoted the game prominently in its App Store, according to people familiar with the matter," the WSJ reports.

"In exchange, one of these people said, EA agreed to give Apple about a two-month window of exclusivity for the title, which wasn't released on Google's Android software until October."

The report further points out that Apple struck a similar deal for the launch of Cut the Rope 2, which was exclusive to iOS for about three months. Gameloft, meanwhile, reportedly declined to offer Apple exclusivity, instead choosing to launch on both iOS and Android at the same time.

According to the WSJ report, the editorial team working on Apple's App Store focuses more on apps that are iOS exclusive, as well as those that are recommended by its "developer-relations staff."

Google is reportedly pursuing similar endeavors, as is Amazon. The latter is reportedly negotiating similar deals with game developers, offering promotional incentives in exchange for exclusivity. Neither company has agreed to comment on the matter at this point. EA, meanwhile, has told the WSJ that it is working closely with both Apple and Google, without offering any further details.  


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