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Apple, Google battle over mobile game exclusivity -- report

The companies are willing to provide ideal placement for the games on their respective application stores, according to the report.


Apple and Google are now battling over game availability in their respective app stores, according to a new report.

Both companies are in talks with prominent game developers to see if they can gain exclusivity on titles or, at the very least, get new releases in their own app marketplaces first, the Wall Street Journal is reporting, citing people familiar with the companies' discussions. For that exclusivity, both Apple and Google will give the games ideal placement within their stores.

Games are wildly popular on mobile platforms and generally lead lists of most popular free, paid, and top-grossing apps. Smartphones and tablets have become such desirable gaming platforms for gamers that traditional portable devices, like Nintendo's 3DS and Sony's PlayStation Vita, have had an exceedingly difficult time competing.

In many cases, games are offered on both Apple's App Store and the Google Play marketplace at the same time. But according to the Journal's sources, Apple and Google would like to have their own marketplaces served first.

That the companies are asking for exclusivity is nothing new in the gaming business. In the traditional video-game industry, hardware makers often work with publishers to get games to be exclusively available on their own platforms. The idea in the traditional video-game market is that such games will attract players to the platform and sell more hardware. It's likely Apple and Google have the same idea in mind.

According to the Journal's sources, Apple approached Electronic Arts about getting exclusive access to the game-publisher's Plants Vs. Zombies 2 title. EA gave Apple exclusivity for two months, and then offered it on Android after that.

It's not clear at this point which company is getting the most exclusive titles. But ultimately, game-maker decisions will come down to the revenue they can generate.

CNET has contacted both Apple and Google for comment on the report. We will update this story when we have more information.