Did Apple Pay Electronic Arts for First Dibs?


Did Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) pay Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) to delay the release of the Android version of Plants vs. Zombies 2? Earlier this week, gaming site Giant Bomb reported on a quote from an Electronics Arts executive that implied Apple had cut a special deal with the company to ensure that the popular mobile game would be available first on iOS.

“Apple gave us a truckload of money to delay the Android version [of Plants vs. Zombies 2],” said Electronic Arts head of mobile Frank Gibeau, according to Giant Bomb’s Patrick Klepek. Gibeau reportedly made the comment at an internal Electronic Arts meeting, and Klepek notes that other sources have confirmed hearing it.

However, both Apple and Electronic Arts have denied that the iPhone maker paid the video game company to secure an exclusive first release of Plants vs. Zombies 2. According to Giant Bomb, an Apple spokesperson said the allegations were “not true.”

Similarly, an Electronics Arts spokesperson stated: “A comment from an internal meeting taken out of context has created an unfortunate misunderstanding. Reports of a paid relationship between Apple and EA are factually inaccurate, and we apologize for any confusion.”

Klopek notes that exclusive marketing deals between game developers and tech companies are not unusual. However, simply paying a company to delay the release of a game for another platform is unusual. Although Apple and Electronics Arts may not have had a strictly “cash” deal, Klepek believes that the “flurry of responses” from both companies makes it likely that there was some sort of agreement.

Regardless of any deal, it should be noted that Apple’s App Store makes far more money than the Android-based Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play store. According to a recent joint report from app analysis company App Annie and market research firm IDC, Apple’s App Store hauled in more than twice the revenue of Google Play in the second quarter of 2013.

Follow Nathanael on Twitter @ArnoldEtan_WSCS

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