Game Center WWDC 2013

The Wall Street Journal has published a report saying that both Apple and Google are actively pursuing exclusivity deals with game developers. Whispers of these type of arrangements surfaced last year, with reports highlighting a partnership between Apple and EA for Plants vs Zombies 2.

The Journal confirms that Apple’s exclusivity deals do not include monetary payments. In return, the companies offer “premium placement” (such as featured spots on the home page) for launching first on their platform.

In regard to the Plants vs Zombies’ deal, the report says EA gave Apple agreed about two months of exclusivity.

Last August, for the launch of “Plants Vs. Zombies 2,” a highly anticipated sequel to a popular zombie-survival strategy game, publisher Electronic Arts Inc. struck a deal with Apple, which promoted the game prominently in its App Store, according to people familiar with the matter.

In exchange, one of these people said, EA agreed to give Apple about a two-month window of exclusivity for the title, which wasn’t released on Google’s Android software until October.

The article also notes that a similar agreement was in place for the launch of Cut the Rope 2, which was only exclusive to iOS for approximately three months. Gameloft said they turned down an exclusivity agreement with Apple, opting to launch on both iOS and Android simultaneously.

The Journal claims that Apple’s App Store editorial team will give more weight to apps that are iOS exclusives. It will also favor apps recommended by its “developer-relations staff”.

Alongside Apple and Google, Amazon also seems to be negotiating similar agreements, exchanging exclusivity for promotional deals. This reflects the video-game industry, where console manufacturers push hard for exclusive titles, although often these deals involve large cash sums.

Not surprisingly, Apple declined to comment on the matter. EA told The Wall Street Journal that it “works closely with both Apple and Google”.

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About the Author

Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.