Apple and Google bring fight for exclusive games to mobile

Posted:
in iPhone edited April 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    I'll stick with console/PC gaming
  • Reply 2 of 43
    timmydaxtimmydax Posts: 284member
    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?
  • Reply 3 of 43
    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?
  • Reply 4 of 43
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    I'll stick with console/PC gaming

    And it shows, you can be sure of that.
  • Reply 5 of 43
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    I'll stick with console/PC gaming

    Not on public transport, you won't.

    Bring on Red Dead Redemption and Starcraft on iOS.
  • Reply 6 of 43
    Exclusive games for android and Amazon? Hahaha, such a dead investment.
  • Reply 7 of 43
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Apple made a special deal with EA? Weren't they voted The Worst Company in America last year.
  • Reply 8 of 43
    imemberimember Posts: 247member
    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 9 of 43
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,547moderator
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 43
    disturbiadisturbia Posts: 563member

    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.

  • Reply 11 of 43

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

  • Reply 12 of 43
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 43
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,171member
    Marvin wrote: »
    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
  • Reply 14 of 43
    esoomesoom Posts: 155member

    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.

  • Reply 15 of 43
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    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.

  • Reply 16 of 43
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,001member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 43
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    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.

  • Reply 18 of 43
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    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.

  • Reply 19 of 43
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,547moderator
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 43
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,001member
    apple ][ wrote: »
    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:
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