In a bid to increase the appeal of their respective mobile operating systems, Apple and Google are apparently scrabbling to snap up exclusive game rights for the most popular titles.
The Wall Street Journal reports that, in order to secure total or timed exclusives for iOS or Android, the companies are offering game publishers tempting enticements. Apparently this doesn’t mean cold, hard cash but rather other incentives, such as premium positioning in app stores.
According to the report, such incentives were used by Apple to secure a two-month period of exclusivity for EA’s Plants vs Zombies 2 and a three-month period of exclusivity for Zepto Lab’s Cut the Rope for iOS. These games were displayed prominently in the App Store, which means more downloads and more revenue for their publishers.
Exclusivity: here to stay
The upshot for users is that games are often unavailable on their platform – and not for any technical reason. We all know how frustrating that can be. At present, for instance, Square Enix’s hot new turn-based Hitman GO is exclusive to iOS.
Such practices – and the increasing fervour with which Google and Apple are courting mobile game publishers – are a measure of how important mobile gaming has become. Games are the most lucrative area of the app market at the moment, and that doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon. So the bad news is: exclusivity is almost certainly here to stay.