April 21, 2014

Apple & Google's Mobile Fight Extends To Game Apps


Google, makers of the Android operating system, and Apple have been locked in some kind of odd deathmatch for some time now, each side vying for dominance in the field. While the balance of power has been known to shift based on just what metric is used at the time, one thing's for certain: these two aren't backing down any time soon. The ongoing battle, meanwhile, is taking on a whole new dimension in an area that may be unexpected, yet makes quite a bit of sense: video games.

Mobile gaming is a huge market, and both Google and Apple seem eager to make sure that the platform each represents can offer up the biggest and best experience for the user, thus helping to ensure that said user stays with that particular mobile breed. To make that experience happen, meanwhile, the platforms are going after the game companies, offering promotional boosts and other benefits to those who bring the biggest games to each system.

For instance, with the recent release of “Plants vs. Zombies 2”, Apple and maker Electronic Arts (EA) worked out an agreement that gave “Plants vs. Zombies 2” a lot of extra promotion—prominent placement in the App Store mainly, according to reports—in exchange for a span of time in which the game was available only on iOS. This resulted in about a two-month lag between the iOS launch of “Plants vs. Zombies 2” and the launch of same on Android. A similar affair occurred for the sequel to “Cut the Rope,” in which maker ZeptoLab got a three-month bloc of exclusive time on iOS before making the move to Android, backed up by hefty promotion on the App Store.

Some might wonder here if a certain video game might really be enough to make people shift platforms, but according to Kongregate head Emily Greer, it happens. Greer noted: “When people love a game, and it's not available on an alternate platform, they'll change platforms. The level of attachment a person has to a game can exceed almost anything.” As sure as Greer seemed by this, IDC analyst Lewis Ward begged to differ, noting “In terms of decision factors of why you buy the device you do, games are very low.”

Yet it's worth noting to point out the recent issues surrounding the Wii U, a system that has been hampered by a lack of games for some time now. Game systems generally exist to play games, and while it's seldom a bad idea to add in other features too, skimping on the games at the expense of these new features tends to be poorly received. Consider the 2013 E3 event, in which Microsoft touted the various features of the Xbox One, yet was dealt a heavy blow by the Sony PlayStation 4's stance on game sharing. There are those who say Sony's ultra-short video detailing how to share games on PlayStation 4 was the ultimate winner of E3, and the groundswell of positive publicity it helped to provide may well have led to its current state as the market leader in next-generation gaming systems.

A system without games doesn't have much value to users, so mobile devices vying for gaming credibility isn't at all out of line. Though mobile devices have a lot more value than a gaming console, harnessing the power of gaming to drive mobile device sales makes its share of sense, and may tip some users' scales in terms of the next mobile device purchase made.




Edited by Maurice Nagle



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