Apple Is Beating Google When It Comes To iOS Game Exclusives

Plants Vs. Zombies 2 was one of several iOS exclusives upon its launch.

Plants Vs. Zombies 2 was one of several iOS exclusives upon its launch.

One more way that Apple is challenging Google is by pushing for exclusive games on iOS, claims a new report.

The Wall Street Journal reports that as Android’s influence has grown, Apple has been offering games developers promotional perks — such as premium placement on their app store home pages — in exchange for first rights to particular titles.

Last August, Apple struck a deal with EA to receive a two-month exclusivity window for Plants vs. Zombies 2, which did not arrive on Android until November.

A similar deal saw the popular sequel to ZeptoLab’s puzzle game Cut the Rope arrive on iOS in December — but not make it to Android until late March this year.

In both cases these games were given premium placement within the App Store, being promoted in a large box at the top of the home page. Apple reportedly doesn’t offer money for games exclusives, but its marketing and promotional assistance can increase the number of daily downloads a game receives by up to ten times.

This kind of promotion is new for Apple when it comes to the App Store. The company’s previous policy left the decision of which apps to promote down to an editorial team, who made their decisions based on the quality of the software, rather than any business considerations.

Apple’s success so far when it comes to game exclusives seems to confirm what a lot of people have said before: that market share is less important than having customers who will spend money on your platform.

Apple’s rivals aren’t taking the move lying down, though. Both Google and Amazon are reportedly pursuing similar strategies.

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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