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Apple and Google bring fight for exclusive games to mobile

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, Apple and Google are actively pursuing game developers with special incentives to make sure big name titles come to their respective platforms first.



Citing people familiar with the matter, the WSJ reported Apple and Google offer top games makers special consideration, like premium positioning in app store sections and lists, in exchange for exclusive first rights to a hot title.

In August of 2013, Electronics Arts Inc. reportedly agreed to deliver popular strategy game Plants Vs. Zombies 2 on Apple's iOS some 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 games 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.

Apple does not offer monetary subsidies for exclusive titles, sources said, instead relying 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 vying 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 -- hardware specs, operating system, ecosystem -- combine to play a larger role in device sales. Consumers usually don't buy into iOS or Android because of an exclusive game.

For games makers, however, 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 is also offering identical arrangements to developers, promising high placement in the Amazon Appstore in return for platform exclusivity.
post #2 of 42
I'll stick with console/PC gaming
post #3 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

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

Good job genericising there. Play Store?
post #4 of 42
The WSJ appears to make it clear Apple does not offer monetary subsidies. Does the WSJ article mention if Google and/or Amazon offer monetary subsidies?
post #5 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Powell View Post

I'll stick with console/PC gaming

And it shows, you can be sure of that.
post #6 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Powell View Post

I'll stick with console/PC gaming

Not on public transport, you won't.

Bring on Red Dead Redemption and Starcraft on iOS.
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post #7 of 42
Exclusive games for android and Amazon? Hahaha, such a dead investment.
post #8 of 42
Apple made a special deal with EA? Weren't they voted The Worst Company in America last year.
post #9 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Apple made a special deal with EA? Weren't they voted The Worst Company in America last year.

It doesnt matter, that deal with EA is not that important   

 

 

Reply

 

 

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post #10 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by En Sabah Nur View Post

Exclusive games for android and Amazon? Hahaha, such a dead investment.

In the comments section of the Engadget article about this, someone made the usual pathetic whine about 'why does anyone make exclusive iOS games when Android has 80% marketshare?'. They really have a problem understanding where the 80% figure comes from. Another commenter pointed out the recent App Annie report noting that Google Play only outsells the App Store in volume by 45% and despite higher volume, iOS revenue for developers is 85% higher:

http://blog.appannie.com/app-annie-index-market-q1-2014/

The overall marketshare between iOS and Android hardware doesn't even appear to be 2:1 yet let alone over 4:1, which is what Android fans think it is.

For high-end games, Apple sells more premium smartphones too. It's a good strategy for Apple to push games this way but they can go a step further and get studios to make games just for their platform instead of timed exclusives. If they bought out Epic Games or Unity they could ensure this to an extent but just picking some big titles like the full Assassin's Creed Revelations or something would help.

They have been quite active in some aspects though. I didn't realise they'd approached the developers of Broken Sword to port their games over:

http://www.hookshotinc.com/charles-cecil-how-app-store-saved-revolution-software/

"five years ago, Revolution Software, the development studio he founded in 1990 with three close friends, could have gone under forever.

“After Broken Sword 3, we were quite vulnerable financially,” he recalls. “As an independent developer, we were losing money on every title we produced. The maths is quite simple, if a game costs £20 plus VAT at retail, the store gets about half of that, and the publisher will take off their costs, which is about three pounds. Then they’ll pay the developer 20 percent of the rest, which is £1.40. Nowadays, if you self-publish on App Store, you may have to fund it and market it, but you’re getting 70 percent of the income. By any stretch of the imagination that totally transforms the commercial landscape.”

Revolution has done well out of App Store. In the early days of the iPhone, when Apple was actively looking for killer apps to populate its service, the company contacted Cecil to see if he would consider bringing over one of Revolution’s classic point-and-click titles. The thinking was probably that the touchscreen interface would be the perfect modern equivalent of the old mouse and keyboard input. Revolution agreed.

The result was an iPhone version of Beneath the Steel Sky, the 1994 cyberpunk adventure featuring beautiful backdrops painted by comic book legend Dave Gibbons."

They've since ported more of the Broken Sword series to iOS (before Android) and Apple is showcasing their latest version in the London Apple Store in a couple of days:

http://www.apple.com/uk/retail/regentstreet/

That's the kind of relationship building that Apple needs more of with games developers. Microsoft does this for the XBox but they don't have the infrastructure to protect profits the way Apple does. They tried to force it but unless it's done the right way, it's going to take a long time and mobile app stores have a slight advantage. They also have the huge disadvantage of poor discoverability but if Apple manages to fix this by using manual overrides where they see fit or algorithm changes then big developers will want to stick with Apple.

It doesn't matter about relative volume of mobile platforms either because the volumes are so large anyway. Apple pretty much only ships premium devices so every year, there's an audience of at least 200 million and overall hardware from the last 3 years or so will be over double that, which is more than all the consoles.
post #11 of 42

Amazon?!! ROFLAMO

 

As for the other one, I hardly buy games / Apps designed for both iOS and android crap. But if I MUST (for whatever reason), I never EVER buy anything that has been ported from android crap to iOS. NEVER EVER.

....the lack of properly optimized apps is one of the reasons "why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy".

Tim Cook ~ The Wall Street Journal - February 7, 2014

Inside Google! 

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....the lack of properly optimized apps is one of the reasons "why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy".

Tim Cook ~ The Wall Street Journal - February 7, 2014

Inside Google! 

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post #12 of 42

If Apple bought Nintendo, they would bury Android.   Imagine Mario, Zelda and Pokemon games on iPad, iPhone and AppleTV.

post #13 of 42
I'd love to see this happen. Although Nintendo made hardware that changed the way we play games at least 3 times I'm the last 40 years, it's time for them to pull a Sega.
post #14 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

In the comments section of the Engadget article about this, someone made the usual pathetic whine about 'why does anyone make exclusive iOS games when Android has 80% marketshare?'. They really have a problem understanding where the 80% figure comes from. Another commenter pointed out the recent App Annie report noting that Google Play only outsells the App Store in volume by 45% and despite higher volume, iOS revenue for developers is 85% higher:

http://blog.appannie.com/app-annie-index-market-q1-2014/.

Less than two years ago iOS app revenues were 400% higher. Even a year ago it was at least 200% more. That's it's down to 85% shows a lot of progress. By the end of this year Android app revenues may even exceed those of Apple's App Store at the current rate of growth.
http://www.networkworld.com/news/2012/112912-ios-android-apps-264635.html
http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/04/17/revenue-from-apples-ios-app-store-more-than-twice-that-of-google-play
Edited by Gatorguy - 4/21/14 at 6:09am
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post #15 of 42

I installed Plants VS Zombies on a Kindle Fire HDX yesterday (I play it on my iPad), the version on the Amazon Play store looks like it was drawn in crayon by a 6 year old, it's actually pretty shocking how bad it is.

post #16 of 42
Originally Posted by Ursadorable View Post
If Apple bought Nintendo, they would bury Android.   Imagine Mario, Zelda and Pokemon games on iPad, iPhone and AppleTV.

 

Nintendo has repeatedly said that they will never accept a purchase, nor will they ever need one. If the company is to go bankrupt (which it won’t, since they’re the Apple of gaming when it comes to cash on hand), they stated that they’d purposely run their franchises into the ground so as not to see them ruined by someone else.

 

But you’re dead right that Nintendo on iOS/OS X would be the end of other platforms.

 

I don’t see why they couldn’t release a NES, SNES, N64, and GameCube emulator, thereafter releasing every title for each of those systems. They already do this for their own hardware: if they opened their back catalog to Apple, they’d make billions on just that.

post #17 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Nintendo has repeatedly said that they will never accept a purchase, nor will they ever need one. If the company is to go bankrupt (which it won’t, since they’re the Apple of gaming when it comes to cash on hand), they stated that they’d purposely run their franchises into the ground so as not to see them ruined by someone else.

But you’re dead right that Nintendo on iOS/OS X would be the end of other platforms.

I don’t see why they couldn’t release a NES, SNES, N64, and GameCube emulator, thereafter releasing every title for each of those systems. They already do this for their own hardware: if they opened their back catalog to Apple, they’d make billions on just that.

Just one single iOS version Super Mario could make them a billion. I just don't get their reluctance to do so. The opening of a large gold mine is right there, and all they have to do is step in it.
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post #18 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


Less than two years ago iOS app revenues were 400% higher. Even a year ago it was at least 200% more. That's it's down to 85% shows a lot of progress. By the end of this year Android app revenues may even exceed those of Apple's App Store at the current rate of growth.
http://www.networkworld.com/news/2012/112912-ios-android-apps-264635.html
http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/04/17/revenue-from-apples-ios-app-store-more-than-twice-that-of-google-play

 

That's a lot of shitty, ad loaded live wallpapers complete with tracking.

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post #19 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post
 I just don't get their reluctance to do so. 

 

Pride.

 

Nintendo on iOS would be awesome, I've said that many times in the past, but they'd sooner take a blade to their stomach before they would ever let that happen I think.

post #20 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Nintendo has repeatedly said that they will never accept a purchase, nor will they ever need one.

They commented on the possibility of their titles on mobile here:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-17/nintendo-forecasts-net-loss-on-stagnating-sales-of-wii-u-games.html

"“We are thinking about a new business structure,” Iwata said at a press conference yesterday in Osaka, Japan. “Given the expansion of smart devices, we are naturally studying how smart devices can be used to grow the game-player business. It’s not as simple as enabling Mario to move on a smartphone.”"

What they'd be better off doing is scrapping the whole idea of a standard console, just make a 7-8" tablet themselves. Wii U sales have tanked so they should just write it off:

http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2014/03/latest_ps4_sales_figures_take_it_past_wii_u_life_to_date_q3_total

The PS4 has outsold it in the 5 months it's been on sale vs 1.5 years for the Wii U.

They can make an Android tablet but with special hardware and/or compiler that ensures their software can't run on generic Android tablets but they are compatible with Android games. Then they make their own physical controllers like the Wii-Mote but a bit more compact, possibly with a capacitive touch surface for more reliable interaction.

Dock it to the TV to use with the Wii Mote, take it in the car or any mobile situation and use it like a DS (without the stylus but it can be optional). One piece of hardware for both mobile and console, with digital software sales, possibly aided by games on (likely proprietary) flash media. It can come in black and white but I think white plastic suits them better.

They could allow other mobiles to run as a second screen so use the iPhone or Android smartphone as a touch remote for the WiiTab and to store achievements.

They have about $5-10b in assets and their latest net loss is estimated at $240m for the previous year. They can run at a loss like that for a while but making new hardware would be a good move for them.
post #21 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Pride.

Nintendo on iOS would be awesome, I've said that many times in the past, but they'd sooner take a blade to their stomach before they would ever let that happen I think.

I don't know about you, but I'd swallow my pride and half my arm for a billion dollars. lol.gif
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post #22 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

That's a lot of shitty, ad loaded live wallpapers complete with tracking.

Hey, that's "progress" —in trash culture.
post #23 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


I don't know about you, but I'd swallow my pride and half my arm for a billion dollars. lol.gif

 

I definitely would too.:smokey:

 

I am a stubborn person, but I can definitely be bought for money, as long as the price is right.:lol: 

post #24 of 42
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post
They commented on the possibility of their titles on mobile here:

…2014-01-17…

 

OH PLEASE, YES.

 
What they'd be better off doing is scrapping the whole idea of a standard console, just make a 7-8" tablet themselves.

 

Wait, why? I get that they love making their own hardware, and they certainly do it as well as Apple does theirs (and with the same impact), but honestly, they have the hardware built for them already. They’ve used ARM in their portables for years: why not upgrade to the best ARM on the market: Apple’s?

 
They can make an Android tablet…

 

Just what we need, more tracking.

post #25 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Less than two years ago iOS app revenues were 400% higher. Even a year ago it was at least 200% more. That's it's down to 85% shows a lot of progress. By the end of this year Android app revenues may even exceed those of Apple's App Store at the current rate of growth.
http://www.networkworld.com/news/2012/112912-ios-android-apps-264635.html
http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/04/17/revenue-from-apples-ios-app-store-more-than-twice-that-of-google-play
That's what people with poor math skills said about Androids ridiculous double-digit growth in the early years. It's simply not sustainable forever and we now see Android growth has levelled off.

Google Already had their "growth spurt" with Google Play. It occurred in 2012-2013 and has also now started to level off and show similar growth to the App Store. Google isn't going to double their sales again this year. Going from 4x to 2.3x to the current 1.85x is also a clear indicator that Googles revenue growth has also slowed down.
post #26 of 42
Nintendo shouldn't bother with major hardware devices anymore.

All they need to do to make a fortune in gaming is A) bring their franchise titles like Mario and Zelda to iOS and B) make their own controller that you clip your iPhone into. I'm sure Nintendo could make an awesome controller (better than the first-gen Logitech or Moga ones). Make the controller a bundle with a free download of any game they sell and watch the money pour in.
post #27 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Wait, why? I get that they love making their own hardware, and they certainly do it as well as Apple does theirs (and with the same impact), but honestly, they have the hardware built for them already. They’ve used ARM in their portables for years: why not upgrade to the best ARM on the market: Apple’s?

Once they go without hardware, it puts them in a vulnerable situation. It's like when people suggest Apple licenses their OS. The potential revenue is huge but it's also very risky if they in fact don't get the sales they'd hoped for. Mobile games sell for under $10 (of which they get at most $7) whereas a piece of hardware can sell for $200 and they can make $70 profit on it so they only need ~1/10th the hardware sales to make the same income and once someone has made the commitment to buy the hardware, they don't want to have it sitting doing nothing so they invest in software for it that they might not on other hardware.

This is why they purposely take away backwards compatibility for games - they make a cut on future game sales so they don't really want people playing games they've already bought instead of buying new versions.

It's true that the hardware is often loss-making but they get the leverage of the game sales limited to their console.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Just what we need, more tracking.

They could fork it like the Kindle and even isolate the Android compatibility part from the Nintendo part. The NIntendo part could even run a separate OS if they wanted. Parents with kids are all going to want to get their kids a tablet of some kind so if they can forget buying the games console and the tablet separately, they just get both in one unit.
post #28 of 42
Oh good: screwing over the consumer just to make themselves feel more important, because that's been just awesome for console gamers. Wanna play the new " Uncharted?" Oh I'm sorry, that's only on play station. Yeah. We do this for you, the gamers.
post #29 of 42
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post
Once they go without hardware, it puts them in a vulnerable situation. It's like when people suggest Apple licenses their OS.

 

Yep. That’s sure a valid concern.

 
This is why they purposely take away backwards compatibility for games…

 

But Nintendo has moved TO backward compatibility, not away from it. All but the newest Wii (and the Wii Mini or whatever they called that idiotic idea) had GameCube compatibility (using the COOLEST slot load ODD ever), the GBA (except for the GBA Micro, which proves that a larger iPhone is idiotic) had GameBoy/Color compatibility, the Nintendo DS (except for the DSi) have GBA compatibility, and the 3DS and 2DS (is… is Nintendo getting stupid?) have DS/i compatibility. 

 

Contrast with the NES, SNES, N64, and GameCube… 

 
It's true that the hardware is often loss-making but they get the leverage of the game sales limited to their console.

 

Gets more than bothersome when there are one or two exclusives you think might be fun but you’d have to buy a $400 console to play them. At least Nintendo’s hardware prices (and vast library of good properties) make their purchases smarter.

post #30 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

Oh good: screwing over the consumer just to make themselves feel more important, because that's been just awesome for console gamers. Wanna play the new " Uncharted?" Oh I'm sorry, that's only on play station. Yeah. We do this for you, the gamers.

A game like Uncharted is developed by Sony themselves using in house developers. You'll probably never see a iOS version of a game like that.
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post #31 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

A game like Uncharted is developed by Sony themselves using in house developers. You'll probably never see a iOS version of a game like that.

 

While I dont' agree with his explanation, I can understand his frustration.  It is a shame that Xbox owners can't play Uncharted or The Last of Us.  Naughty Dog has hit a lot of home runs lately and Xbox owners really are missing out.  As far as ending up on iOS, I'm not sure the controls for either would translate to mobile very well.  Porting The Last of Us to mobile would take what is one of the greatest games to ever be made and likely make it a frustrating and miserable experience.

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post #32 of 42
Originally Posted by DroidFTW View Post

It is a shame that Xbox owners can't play Uncharted or The Last of Us.

 

Forget that. Real computer owners! Where graphics don’t have to be mercilessly stripped to meet pathetic hardware quotas.

 

If you made a computer game that could only be played at 720p today, you’d be laughed at and spat upon. But it’s par for the course, even for the newest consoles.

 

Guess I’ll just wait for the The Last Of Us film.

post #33 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by DroidFTW View Post
 

As far as ending up on iOS, I'm not sure the controls for either would translate to mobile very well.  

 

I haven't played the particular games that are being talked about here, but I do know that sometimes certain console or pc games can be even better on an iPad, precisely because of the touch screen controls.

 

Of course, that doesn't apply to all games. It depends.

post #34 of 42
As a lover of games it would be smarter of Nintendo to release blockbuster games to PC, Xbox 1, and ps4. Mobile is not ready for blockbuster gmes yet. When you have games closing in at 50 GB and millions of dollars going into development it's hard to give it away for 4.99. Most peopple don't see it worth pay 60$ games and these studios being forced to pay 30% to apple is absurb.
post #35 of 42
Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post
its hard to give it away for 4.99.

 

So sell it for $19.99 and make money. Simple.

 
…these studios being forced to pay 30% to apple is absorb.

 

They won’t think that way when they’re bankrupted by Apple.

post #36 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post

As a lover of games it would be smarter of Nintendo to release blockbuster games to PC, Xbox 1, and ps4. Mobile is not ready for blockbuster gmes yet. When you have games closing in at 50 GB and millions of dollars going into development it's hard to give it away for 4.99. Most peopple don't see it worth pay 60$ games and these studios being forced to pay 30% to apple is absurb.

 

Games like XCOM: Enemy Unknown have addressed the size and cost problem by offering a more limited, but still enjoyable version of the game for mobile.  They achieved this by removing levels and reducing graphics for the iOS version.  By doing so they were able to get the filesize down to 1.75 GB with a cost of $19.99.  This approach won't work for all games, but it can certainly work for some.

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post #37 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Forget that. Real computer owners! Where graphics don’t have to be mercilessly stripped to meet pathetic hardware quotas.

If you made a computer game that could only be played at 720p today, you’d be laughed at and spat upon. But it’s par for the course, even for the newest consoles.

Guess I’ll just wait for the The Last Of Us film.
You'll still be missing something. Graphics don't really matter in games like The Last of Us, or Heavy Rain, where the plot is everything. You won't even notice those 720p, the only thing you'd want to know is what the hell happened to Ethan Mars' son.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DroidFTW View Post

While I dont' agree with his explanation, I can understand his frustration.  It is a shame that Xbox owners can't play Uncharted or The Last of Us.  Naughty Dog has hit a lot of home runs lately and Xbox owners really are missing out.
"Lately"? Ever since Crash Bandicoot, if I may ;-) Jak and Daxter 1-2-3 have also been a huge hit for PS2. I'm deeply sorry for Xbox owners, but really, if they are unhappy after years of Halo and Gears of War, they can always "change side" ;-)
Edited by LilSmirk - 4/21/14 at 2:32pm
post #38 of 42
Originally Posted by LilSmirk View Post
You'll still be missing something. Graphics don't really matter in games like The Last of Us, or Heavy Rain, where the plot is everything. 

 

Yes, I’ve noticed that. Plot has become everything such that it detracts from the fact that IT’S A GAME, NOT A FILM. I abhor all these shoddy “games” these days that are nothing more than interactive movies. Even worse, the ones that give you “choice” that affects the outcome, plot, or events in any way.

 
You won't even notice those 720p, the only thing you'd want to know is what the hell happened to Ethan Mars' son.

 

Hmm… What’s the last game that got me to care… There is one, I just can’t remember. The nice thing about my inability to retain memories is that I can have a small library of entertainment and just… rewatch or replay them every year. Virtually a new experience every time.

post #39 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

Yes, I’ve noticed that. Plot has become everything such that it detracts from the fact that IT’S A GAME, NOT A FILM. I abhor all these shoddy “games” these days that are nothing more than interactive movies.

I can agree with this.

Quote:
 Even worse, the ones that give you “choice” that affects the outcome, plot, or events in any way.

I cannot Agree with this. Possibly one of the few reasons I touch games like Fallout 1/2/New Vegas, Planescape Torment, Knights of the Old Republic 2, and Dragon Age Origins is the depth into which they can give player control of their progression.

 

These games listed in particular, because unlike other RPG's where the endings are fairly black and white(ergo Good vs Evil blah), these listed happen to literally emphasize every decision you ever make and the consequences. You can't get any more RPG than that. What may have sounded like a great idea on Paper turned out to be a horrible decision for the player? That's role playing.

 

Simple "Oh you saved the day" or "You doomed everything" plots however quickly kill my interest in an RPG if not done correctly.  In regular games though you can forget it. Almost every Non-RPG fails these points. So in that point I can agree, with a few exceptions(Ergo Walking Dead).

 

Quote:

Hmm… What’s the last game that got me to care… There is one, I just can’t remember. The nice thing about my inability to retain memories is that I can have a small library of entertainment and just… rewatch or replay them every year. Virtually a new experience every time. 

If you can remember the setting or perhaps a general plot or character I might be able to find it if you wish.

post #40 of 42

It makes sense that Apple and Google (and Microsoft?) would consider strategies around exclusivity for gaming content. Gaming is tremendously important and I think that has been universally recognised by consumer electronics companies now. It should go without saying that gaming is important not only in and of itself, but also as an entry point for other kinds of entertainment content.

 

I don't see exclusivity deals as necessarily good or bad; that is, I think they are just a natural fact of life (given that developers have to make choices about where to put their development resources, and platform owners are in the business of creating differentiation for their product to give it a competitive edge).

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