A new report from The Wall Street Journal today highlights the increasing competition between Apple and Google to gain exclusive games for their respective iOS and Android platforms. According to the report, both companies have been offering developers promotional perks, such as premium placement on their app store home pages, in exchange for the first rights to a title.
For instance, the popular title Cut The Rope 2 was reportedly part of an exclusivity agreement between Apple and and developer ZeptoLab:
ZeptoLab’s sequel to its popular puzzle game “Cut the Rope”, introduced in December, reflected a similar pattern. The company and Apple agreed to about a three-month window of exclusivity for Apple’s App Store, in exchange for the store prominently promoting the game, one person familiar with the matter said. ZeptoLab launched an Android version in late March.
The report also notes a promotional agreement between Apple and EA to launch Plants VS. Zombies 2 on iOS two months before its release on Android. This is in line with a storyfrom Giant Bomb last September that shared similar details. However, while both companies denied the claims and stated that no money was exchanged as asserted by the original story, The Wall Street Journal notes that Apple doesn’t offer money for game exclusives, but rather just marketing and promotional assistance.
Plants VS. Zombies 2 was prominently featured by Apple during the week of its release, as it was mentioned on the App Store Facebook page and featured in top banners on the App Store itself.
Amazon has also carried out similar practices, offering promotional spots on its Amazon Appstore in order for the rights to launch games on its Kindle family of devices. An Amazon spokeswoman corroborated these claims, stating that the company “works with many developers to bring their apps to the Amazon Appstore.” The company’s new Fire TV media streaming box, which was released earlier this month, contains dedicated support for games, even offering a $39 wireless Fire game controller.
The news also comes as the amount of money spent by consumers on mobile content grows. According to the results of a study done by research firms IDC and App Annie, mobile games accounted for $16 billion of app sales, jumping 2.3x over the past year.