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Apple and Google "arms race" fuels exclusive games on some platforms

News by Andrew Kameka on Monday April 21, 2014.

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Exclusive titles on gaming consoles have inspired consumers to choose a PlayStation or Xbox based on the appeal of certain titles, but it has also frustrated interested gamers who are attracted to games not available on their console. Apple and Google are bringing a similar situation to the mobile industry.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple and Google have been trying to attract exclusive titles for iOS or Android by promising developers top billing in their respective app stores. Plants Vs. Zombies 2 is cited as an example of Apple convincing EA not to release its Android app until two months after it had already debuted on iOS. As a result, Apple promoted PVZ 2 in its App Store by making it highly visible whenever someone looked for new apps and games.

Earning exclusives is a growing trend in mobile, but it's been happening in gaming consoles for years. The thinking is that having a string of high-profile and popular games that the competition does not have might cause some to switch to another console or keep current customers happy. If someone is so enamored by Titanfall, he or she is more likely to by an Xbox One over a PS4. Someone who loves the Uncharted series might opt for a PS3 over an Xbox 360.

The same strategy is at play in smartphones, and it's more sensible in that arena because consumers upgrade their phones far more often and freely than they do gaming consoles. If Apple can build a narrative that it will have apps several months before Android, it might convince new buyers to opt for an iPhone instead of a Galaxy. Nokia employed a similar strategy in its Lumia phones by attracting more developers to Windows Phone but ensuring that only Nokia phones would get them before the apps eventually appeared on HTC Windows devices.

Amazon also drew attention to its Appstore by having a few exclusives. However, not all developers think it makes sense to use exclusives. Gameloft chose to release its Android and iOS simultaneously because it "makes sense" for the company. Unless favoring one OS over the other stops increasing revenues and downloads as a result of the promotions from companies, other developers are less likely to follow suit.

source: Wall Street Journal

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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