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146 Comments

Apple Denies Paying EA to Delay Plants vs. Zombies 2 on Android [UPDATED]

Frank Gibeau, head of EA Labels, told EA employees the delay was due to a "truckload" of money from Apple.

UPDATE: Apple is denying the substance of the comments made by Gibeau.

A company spokesperson described Giant Bomb's story as "not true" and said no money was exchanged.

When these deals are made in the games industry, it's often a co-marketing deal, not a briefcase full of cash. It's possible Gibeau meant this but chose his words poorly. When asked whether Apple and EA had brokered an agreement regarding iOS exclusivity, the company would not disclose any details on its relationships.

Giant Bomb stands by the original quoting of Gibeau's comments.

--

Except in China, Plants vs Zombies 2 has only launched on iOS, and there is a very good reason for it: Apple reportedly paid for it.

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This detail was revealed during an internal town hall meeting held earlier today for publisher Electronic Arts.

“Apple gave us a truckload of money to delay the Android version [of Plants vs Zombies 2],” said Frank Gibeau, head of EA Labels.

Giant Bomb confirmed the quote with several sources who watched the presentation today.

It is unclear what a “truckload of money” means, and we have no further details on the apparent agreement between Apple and EA. Apple has not yet responded to my requests for comment.

"We can't comment on internal meetings," said a PopCap representative.

What it does indicate, however, is that Apple is acting more like a traditional video game platform holder than we might have previously speculated. Such deals are common in the hypercompetitive games industry.

What would drive Apple to strike such a deal with EA? Plants vs. Zombies 2 has launched on Android in China, and it’s outselling the iPhone version of the game six-to-one in that market, according to comments from Gibeau. He also told the crowd the Android version should be released everywhere else in a month or so, which would jive with EA’s previous “fall 2013” comments.

Plants vs Zombies 2 has been an enormous success for developer PopCap Games and EA, having been downloaded more than 25 million times already. The game has been lauded for being a worthy sequel, albeit not without intense scrutiny for switching to a free-to-play model.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
148 CommentsRefresh
Avatar image for blu3v3nom07
Posted by Blu3V3nom07

Well that's okay.

Avatar image for chose
Posted by chose

That's right, this is where the money goes; locking in content, not innovation. It'd be nice to have a parallel Earth to ours where decency and respect still exist, we could compare how much retard we have accumulated so far with all our bullshit, how much retarded we are.

Avatar image for professoress
Posted by ProfessorEss

@2kings said:

Doesn't make sense. How many people are going to buy an Apple product for just this game? Does anyone buy ipads or iphones for just the games? Seems like a waste.

Small, constant reinstatements can be as powerful as a "system seller".

Someone may not go out and buy a new phone for it, but it could be one of the sparks that help make that person's decision next time they're upgrading.

Avatar image for razielcuts
Posted by RazielCuts

I think this can only be a good thing right? It shows that Apple are (however behind closed doors) starting to care about games. I'm not entirely sure how microtransactions on the AppStore works but does Apple take a cut off the top from that as well? Maybe that's the real reason then, moar monies.

Avatar image for dirkgently
Edited by DirkGently

Clearly Apple felt the pressure of Ouya exclusives and was forced to respond.

Avatar image for pimblycharles
Posted by PimblyCharles

Apple doesn't care about Windows Phone? <crying>... <not>... they should be concerned cause EA supports WP and it is outselling iPhones in most other countries besides the US

Avatar image for chiablo
Posted by chiablo

I can't imagine PvZ2 is doing well on the marketplace. The reviews are damning because of the egregious microtransaction nonsense. But I have a low tolerance for this kind of bullshit, I didn't even get past the first world because the grind was terrible.

Avatar image for professoress
Posted by ProfessorEss

@patrickklepek: Do you know if an app purchased in America costs the same as an app purchased in China? Is a unit moved a unit moved or does profit per unit vary by region?

Avatar image for veektarius
Posted by Veektarius

I think that Apple is conscious of the perception that the iPhone has little advantage when it comes to apps that are not games, so it must preserve its exclusivity on the major games to preserve that impression.

Avatar image for granderojo
Edited by granderojo

This makes me hate Apple more, generally, and Popcap less about how Plants Vs Zombies 2 on Android. I'm really looking forward to this game despite F2P-ness but I'm on Android now.

Avatar image for blipp18
Posted by BLipp18

@hkz: ok, but at least feature wise you guys got everything pretty much right away. I think the Android version got the Zen garden update like 3 months ago. And before that it only ever worked on like 10 devices. And they were all like 2 year old devices. New devices took months to get support, and even then it was still buggy and crashy.

Avatar image for mrfluke
Posted by mrfluke

@joshwent said:

@mrfluke said:

surprised apple even cared to do that.

Seems like this move might be more about Apple's campaign of trying to get a leg up Asian made devices sold in the West (Samsung), rather than just trying to secure IPs for the heck of it.

very true

Avatar image for roujinx
Posted by RoujinX

Someone should pay me for not putting out a game.

Would that be considered the opposite of piracy?

Avatar image for bigd145
Edited by BigD145

Money buys anything, even the appearance of innovation.

Avatar image for jaycee
Posted by JayCee

I bet it was a dumptruck load of money.

Beep Beep baby.

Avatar image for extomar
Posted by EXTomar

I definitely do not condone it but I am surprised they are allowed to discuss this where things "payment" definitely fall under Non-Disclosure.

Avatar image for l4wd0g
Posted by l4wd0g

Apple is a shitty company.

Avatar image for gaff
Posted by Gaff

@patrickklepek: Patrick, if this GiantBomb exclusive news story is going to break the site on the day Vinny is streaming Dark Souls, I will track you down, so help me God.

Avatar image for walkerd
Posted by WalkerD

I think the more interesting news here is that it's selling so much better on android than on iOS.

Avatar image for jayeh
Posted by JayEH

Getting some more scoops I see.

Avatar image for dirkgently
Edited by DirkGently

Someone should pay me for not putting out a game.

Have you considered not taking up growing crops? Pays great in Europe.

Avatar image for zacagawea
Posted by Zacagawea

SCOOPS

Avatar image for earlessshrimp
Posted by EarlessShrimp

*beep beep beep* was it a... dumptruck?

Avatar image for 2kings
Posted by 2kings

@2kings said:

Doesn't make sense. How many people are going to buy an Apple product for just this game? Does anyone buy ipads or iphones for just the games? Seems like a waste.

Small, constant reinstatements can be as powerful as a "system seller".

Someone may not go out and buy a new phone for it, but it could be one of the sparks that help make that person's decision next time they're upgrading.

I agree but this MUST have costed an enormous amount and it is just one game. Everyone I know bought their iphones to "keep up with the Jones's" so to speak. All the people who bought Android did so because they appreciate tech a little more deeply. Neither for the games.

Avatar image for abendlaender
Posted by Abendlaender

So´, is the game not F2P in China?

Avatar image for bobbintb
Posted by bobbintb

@mackinder: really? you didn't expect apple to financially strong arm the competition? are you not familiar with apple, like, at all?

Avatar image for the_vein
Edited by The_Vein

Who cares? Seriously, what difference does it make? Of course people are going to try to keep big things exclusive to them for as long as possible.

Avatar image for slowram
Posted by SLowrAM

I find it hard to imagine that PVZ2 would get Apple any additional sales, can't see why they would pay out any money or anything of value for some days of exclusivity.

Avatar image for kosayn
Edited by Kosayn

Paying for temporary platform exclusivity is not often a matter of public record. And fans of a platform that secures exclusives often appreciate it, whether that's right or wrong. But if the denial is a lie, that's problematic.

I do think it shows that there's probably a lot more of this iceberg beneath the surface with regards to developers that make stuff for IOS first / only 'based on personal preference.'

Avatar image for ramone
Edited by Ramone
@chose said:

we could compare how much retard we have accumulated so far with all our bullshit, how much retarded we are.

that's million retards.

Avatar image for lava
Posted by Lava

I wonder if Apple investing like this (they probably did) has anything to do with it being F2P. It was probably a strong draw to the app store and maybe game sales in general picked up because PvZ2 is free.

Avatar image for tinygrasshopper
Posted by TinyGrasshopper

Anything to maintain the perception that games don't come out on Android

Avatar image for swick
Posted by Swick

That's an awful lot of backlash for an 'untrue' story. Me thinks thou doth protest too much.

Avatar image for sephirm87
Edited by sephirm87
Avatar image for mrsmiley
Posted by mrsmiley

How the hell is this any different than Microsoft paying a bunch of money to make TitanFall exclusive to the Xbox One for a few months? I understand why this is an issue at all. It happens all the time with more than just video games.

Avatar image for librorumprohibitorum
Edited by LibrorumProhibitorum

FREE THOSE MOTHERFUCKIN GAMES

Avatar image for sqrabbit
Edited by sqrabbit

Next Update - Frank Gibeau steps down as head of EA Labels

Avatar image for nekroskop
Posted by Nekroskop

Do people who are even average interested in video games care about phone games?

Avatar image for murderslingshot
Posted by MurderSlingshot

I don't know why but "Giant Bomb stands by the original quoting of Gibeau's comments." sounds super bad ass to me. It makes me feel like Patrick is calling out Apple's bullshit

Avatar image for sweeneytodd
Posted by SweeneyTodd

Do people who are even average interested in video games care about phone games?

Well, PvZ was on PC and console as well. And if you don't think phone games are shaping how the new consoles are going to work re: so many things, then IMO you're missing an important point.

Avatar image for nekroskop
Posted by Nekroskop

@sweeneytodd: Phone game consoles. Oh, you mean the highly successful Ouya?

Avatar image for benderunit22
Posted by benderunit22

I don't know why this is a news story, regardless of whether it's true or not. For one, is PvZ2 such a huge blockbuster game that people care about it that much? I mean, the Bombcast was pretty sour on it after the whole micro-transaction deal.

Secondly, the practice of "buying" exclusivity is nothing new. Microsoft has done it by the dozens with various XBLA titles and full games such as Braid, BioShock, Lost Planet, etc. and Sony has been starting to secure console exclusivity for various PS4 titles as well.

Avatar image for hammondoftexas
Edited by HammondofTexas

Scoops!

Avatar image for porjos
Posted by porjos

SCOOOOPPSSS

Avatar image for scratch
Posted by Scratch

Alright then. Seems like the expected response from Apple.

Avatar image for boom_goes_the_dynamite
Edited by Boom_goes_the_dynamite

We all know Apple, in the past at least, has not cared about games. In fact many iphone games were made in spite of Apple.

However, here it seems like Apple is acting like any console manufacturer but providing some form of benefit for EA. To me this denial just screams of Apple still trying to act like they are above such practices that the big 3 have been a party to for years. Seems funny to me.

Avatar image for mnzy
Posted by mnzy

I don't know why this is a news story, regardless of whether it's true or not. For one, is PvZ2 such a huge blockbuster game that people care about it that much? I mean, the Bombcast was pretty sour on it after the whole micro-transaction deal.

Secondly, the practice of "buying" exclusivity is nothing new. Microsoft has done it by the dozens with various XBLA titles and full games such as Braid, BioShock, Lost Planet, etc. and Sony has been starting to secure console exclusivity for various PS4 titles as well.

1. Well, yes.

2. For Apple it is. It says alot about how they think about games now. They completely ignored them before.

Avatar image for marokai
Edited by Marokai

Gross, as these kind of deals always are. Good on Patrick for reporting on it.

Avatar image for budgietheii
Edited by budgietheii

Hot scoops!

Like you say Patrick, very interesting to see Apple taking more of an interest in the game side of it's platform.

Avatar image for razzdrazz
Posted by razzdrazz