Apple and Google Actively Pursue Exclusive Rights for Mobile Games
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple and Google are actively pursuing game developers with special incentives to make sure big name titles come to their respective platforms first.
In August of 2013, Electronic Arts Inc. reportedly agreed to deliver popular strategy game Plants vs. Zombies 2 on Apple’s iOS roughly two months before launching a version for Google’s Android. In exchange for platform exclusivity, Apple promoted the title in iOS App Store banners and featured game lists. Sources also claim developer ZeptoLab agreed to offer Cut the Rope 2, another sequel to a hot-selling game, as an iOS exclusive for about three months. Like EA, ZeptoLab’s title was featured prominently in the App Store at launch.
The Cupertino California company doesn’t offer monetary subsidies for exclusive titles according to sources. It instead relies on the promise of exposure to iOS’ massive user base as collateral in dealmaking. Still, the process infringes on Apple’s policy to promote apps through an editorial team, which in theory makes its decisions based content, not business agreements. The publication said Apple’s editorial team now factors in exclusivity and input from developer-relations staff when considering a title for promotion.
Platform exclusives have long been a standard marketing tactic in the world of console gaming, with major players Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo looking for rights to major money makers. Good examples of early exclusive franchises include “Metal Gear: Solid” for the PlayStation and “Halo” for Xbox. Until recently, the strategy has been less important to mobile as a slew of other factors with hardware specs, operating system, ecosystem, combing to play a larger role in device sales. Consumers usually don’t buy into iOS or Android because of an exclusive game.
For game makers, promotion in the App Store with banner ads and inclusion in featured game lists can lead to a significant increase in downloads, which translates into dollars. As for Google, the Internet search giant has lined up deals similar to Apple’s offering prominent app store placement for titles that integrate Android branding. Amazon also appears to be offering identical arrangements to developers, promising high placement in the Amazon Appstore in return for platform exclusivity.
Source: The Wall Street Journal