Exclusive games just the latest battleground for Google, Amazon, and Apple

Are the best games on Android or are the best games on iPhone? That's a question that's becoming increasingly important to both Apple and Google, and they're reportedly willing to help developers get massive marketing pushes in exchange for periods of exclusivity for hot new games. This will come as a surprise to precisely no one familiar with the console market, or the basics of running any store, real-world or virtual. Mario, Sonic, Halo, and other exclusive franchises made the console wars of the past, and on mobile, and for iOS and Android, that's now translating into Plants vs. Zombies 2, Cut the Rope 2, and others. Ian Sherr and Daisuke Wakabayashi, writing for the Wall Street Journal:

As Android's influence has grown, Apple's editorial team has been factoring in exclusivity to a greater degree after it deems an app to be attractive, according to people familiar with the process. The editorial team also will give greater consideration to titles recommended by its developer-relations staff, they said.

Android, both in the form of Google's Play Store and Amazon's appstore, are working promotional angles in their own way as well:

Google has struck deals to help promote apps that integrate Android branding. [...] Amazon.com Inc, too, has gotten into the act. The online retailer has sought exclusivity deals with game developers as a way to boost the appeal of its Kindle family of Android devices. Amazon is offering premium placement on its app store's home screen in exchanges for exclusivity, according to people familiar with the matter.

There's apparently no money changing hands, but the massive marketing boost preferred placement in Google, Apple, or Amazon can provide in terms of downloads and purchases is just as good. Apple once-upon-a-time made a game of their own, Texas Hold 'Em, but has long since removed it from sale. Google acquired and maintains Ingress, their own Android-exclusive game. None of them have gone to Mario, Sonic, or Halo levels yet when it comes to exclusive gaming, however. But is that just a matter of time?

How do you feel about platform exclusives? Do they influence your buying decision or just frustrate you if and when you have to wait?

There are 30 comments

GC736 says:

There is no app that would ever influence me to buy any iDevice. Platform-exclusive titles only frustrate consumers and further drive hatred for the opposing ecosystem.
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1ll1TERAT3 says:


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This is one of the reasons why blackberry is in a vulnerable position .

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frettfreak says:

makes me irritated and frustrated to no end, HOWEVER, there is NO app that will ever make me want an iAnything. Period. IMO, if a developer is willing to ignore the power of android globally (80% market share), they dont deserve my money cause their an idiot.

Grahaman27 says:

Star wars the old republic makes me pretty jealous.

via moto x.

Viktorgasm says:

Infinity Blade though.

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CarbonOak says:

+1 to your comment if I could.

I will admit that there a few iOS exclusive games have piqued my interest, but never to the point of influencing me to pick up an Apple device (I did own an iPod Touch for a short period of time a few years ago).

It's just another missed sale for the developer to develop exclusively for one system.

vividrich says:

I'm a casual gamer so if a title isn't available.... eh. Not a big deal.

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To much trouble and probably not worth it anyway.

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anthonok says:

No money exchanging hands my ass.

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alan0226 says:

Once again, companies are in a race to see whichever one can cut the other's throat first! Which in my opinion is another step back. I feel as if they should work together, in some cases (not all!!!). This move is just going to tick me off, as well as it will many others. I can't stand when one platform carry's a application that I have interest in, but ends up being exclusive to just that platform for 12 months, or so. By then something else has made it's way to the platform I am on. So I could see this hurting the developer of the application? I have issues with the whole patten trolling they have going on now of days. It would be nice if all these different manufacturers would start sharing technology (of course for some sort of % of sales), but just think of all the applications & devices we would have. As well as what they would all be able to do! Now I know the mobile world moves very fast but......... CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH TECH!!! HA! Well back to the point I was wanting to make but got way off course! By now I don't believe any one app, nor gimmicky feature, would sway anyone's feelings or decision for that matter of what brand they will buy! Everyone is pretty much locked into their preferred platform/brand (WELL EVERYONE THAT FOLLOWS ALL THIS TECH STUFF).
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SkinsFan1987 says:

My daughter is a big Doc McStuffins fan; she can sing the theme song at the drop of a hat, and she generally loves everything to do with the show. Unfortunately, some of the best games for Doc are only available for the iOS devices. It sucks, because she'll never get to play them.

alii92 says:

I hate that these companies make things exclusive for ios... doesn't want me to make me have to buy an ios...I just hate waiting

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jimbo says:

Exclusivity sucks!
It's limiting and off putting.

dswatson83 says:

I am more surprised to see Google considering this. There is no app or game that would make me consider a phone switch. Exclusive agreements are bad for consumers as well

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Exclusives hurt more than they do good. Hurts the consumer because they might want it and can't afford the hardware. AND it hurts the company because... there goes a customer.

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muthah says:

I tend to be swayed away from any company that uses leverage against the small guys. Whether it be a carrier exclusive phone or anyone else. The main reason I got rid of my ijunk a long time ago.

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kcerica says:

I am jealous at how many more good quality educational apps are available for ios. Plus it seems like any company that makes apps for both systems usually release the ios version first and a lot of the time the Android version feels like it was done half-assed with less features.

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sicembaylor says:

All of this is true, and there is really no longer an excuse for it considering the number of Android users.

Razieltov says:

There is a good excuse for it. Developing for iOS is a lot easier than Android.

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And generally more lucrative.

Razieltov says:

And because Android user don't buy apps. But iOS users do.

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Don't generalize too much there buddy.


I'll agree with your first statement, but the second is bull.

Razieltov says:


Sorry buddy. IOS developers earn more money than Android developers. However I think the conversion to a freemium model may be making thinks better for Android developers. But the appstore makes 85 percent more revenue than the play store. Almost twice as much.

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ScottJ says:

Shifty Jelly, the folks that make Pocket Casts revamped their Android version before iOS because they make more money on Android than iOS. They put out a blog post explaining this to their iOS customers as they were a bit perturbed.

Razieltov says:

That is one company. Most companies and developers make more money on iOS.

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Johnny Blake says:

This is interesting, particularly because I'm an independent developer. If Google ever approached me with an exclusivity deal, I would probably take it. I would never develop exclusively for Apple, though.

Posted from my Motorola Moto G

I say leave platform exclusives to consoles.

...while we're at it, we should do away with them here, too, but that's not going to happen.

Siddsi says:

Android has emulators. I'm done.

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