Electronic Art’s and Popcap’s Plants vs. Zombies 2 made its North American debut on iOS a month or so ago. It launched with a bit of a fervour over its F2P implementation, managed to rack up over 25 million downloads under two weeks and that’s about it. Barely anyone questioned why there wasn’t any other version yet, we all assumed it would arrive later in due time.
I assumed the delay was to assure the game was compatible across as many Android devices as possible, I didn’t even think of the possibility of moneyhatting.
Well it turns out Electronic Arts was paid a “truckload of money” by Apple. This would be the first significant example of timed exclusivity by way of financial compensation in the mobile space.
Apple — of course — denies such allegations but Electronic Arts has no reason to lie about such things. A “truckload of money” maybe an over simplification of “marketing agreement” but the fact of the matter is, Apple is taking games on its platforms extremely seriously.
The “natural” delay that existed between iOS and Android releases of games and apps is dwindling. As tools and middleware improve, the only thing to stop or delay an app from appearing on a competitor’s platform is financial compensation. And if you were a platform holder who was looking to keep a platform as attractive as possible, worthwhile exclusives are one way to achieve that. And selecting the sequel to one of the most beloved mobile games like Plants vs Zombies isn’t a bad place to start.
Now if only we could get a quantifiable definition of “truckload”.
P.S – I should write up a review for Plants vs Zombies 2.