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Apple, EA Deny Relationship Over Plants vs. Zombies 2

Both companies publicly deny exclusivity was paid for on iOS.

Apple and Electronic Arts have both vehemently denied the existence of a paid agreement between the two companies to ensure Plants vs. Zombies 2 launched first on iOS.

These denials are in response to a story I filed yesterday, which featured a comment made by a high-level EA executive about Android.

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

This quote was confirmed by multiple sources attending an employee-only Electronic Arts town hall, and was verified by other sources who came forward after the story published.

Nonetheless, an EA spokesperson today called the story categorically "not true."

This expands on a statement from the company last night.

“A comment from an internal meeting taken out of context has created an unfortunate misunderstanding,” said a company spokesperson in a statement yesterday. “Reports of a paid relationship between Apple and EA are factually inaccurate, and we apologize for any confusion.”

Plants vs Zombies 2 launched on Android in early September but only in China. According to Gibeau’s other comments at the meeting, the Android version has been outselling (which most likely means more installs, not necessarily monetization) the iOS version six-to-one in China. The international version will roll out in October.

Not long after the story was published, Apple quickly issued a denial, as well. A spokesperson painted the allegation that Apple paid for the exclusive debut of Plants vs. Zombie 2 as “not true.”

Using the term “paid” in the headline may have been overreaching on my part. Based on Gibeau’s comments, which is reporting that I continue to stand by, it’s more likely the companies entered into an agreement that ensured promotion of Plants vs. Zombies 2 in a very meaningful capacity. Promotion on the App Store is extremely powerful, and can make or break a game’s success. The idea that Apple would think of leveraging this opportunity to broker deals is not a crazy one, but I’m also surprised at the flurry of responses from both Apple and EA in regards to this story. This is common practice in the video game industry. In any other case, it wouldn’t even be a story, but where there is smoke, there is fire. I smell smoke here. Did Apple deliver a briefcase of cash to EA? No. Do I believe there was some agreement between the two? More than ever.

You don’t make a comment about “truckloads of money” unless there’s something to back it up.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
78 Comments
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Posted by darkdragonmage99

wouldn't surprise me at all if companies pay to get these exclusives because there really isn't a reason to go exclusive otherwise limiting your market isn't a very smart move if there isn't something in it for you to do so.

Posted by chose

Then why doesn't it release everywhere else at the same time as China? The localizations are all done. The game is running on Android. Then why the delay? EA would never do that unless $$$$$$$, because EA wants $$$$$$$.

Posted by Mycroft_Ampersand

For the people in the "why is this news" camp, Patrick states the reason in his original article - "What it does indicate, however, is that Apple is acting more like a traditional video game platform holder than we might have previously speculated."

It was reported because it is unusual behaviour from Apple that may be indicative of a new strategy or business model for iOS concerning games going forward from this point.

The reason that it is news for a follow up is that despite being common practice in the games industry (as Patrick himself states several times), both companies are being so "vehement" in denying that any such deal had taken place. Even though, as the above comments show, most people wouldn't really care if they admitted that it had.

Posted by Ronald

I hope everyone starts calling him Frank "Stitches" Gibeau from now on.

Edited by YukoAsho

@chose said:

Then why doesn't it release everywhere else at the same time as China? The localizations are all done. The game is running on Android. Then why the delay? EA would never do that unless $$$$$$$, because EA wants $$$$$$$.

This. The denials by both parties are a joke and three quarters. EA doesn't give exclusivity for any reason other than money.

Edited by InsaneGenis

Is this to cover up some proxy war with google that Apple does not want to enter into? Patrick I hope youre reading this, but their obviously is a philosophy at Apple to never acknowledge competition. (Mark Cuban mindset) To work in a bubble in order to leave your customers in a bubble concerning softwares. I personally own apple products and I guess their fear is Google will start defining to the masses about operating systems while Apple hopes to keep the masses in the dark by making them believe there is no Linux. Hopefully Google sees this and steps it up in competition. I personally like how Apple products handle UI wise which I've always supported. Android is to clunky for me, but I don't want Apple treating me as if I'm an idiot. Which is what they are doing here.

Edited by noizy

We keep hearing how Microsoft, Google, Apple and others are "fighting for the living room". Now we know they are also fighting for the bathroom.

Edited by cooljammer00

Scoooooooooooooooooooops!

Get out the newsman hat!

Posted by YukoAsho

Is this to cover up some proxy war with google that Apple does not want to enter into? Patrick I hope youre reading this, but their obviously is a philosophy at Apple to never acknowledge competition. (Mark Cuban mindset) To work in a bubble in order to leave your customers in a bubble concerning softwares. I personally own apple products and I guess their fear is Google will start defining to the masses about operating systems while Apple hopes to keep the masses in the dark by making them believe there is no Linux. Hopefully Google sees this and steps it up in competition. I personally like how Apple products handle UI wise which I've always supported. Android is to clunky for me, but I don't want Apple treating me as if I'm an idiot. Which is what they are doing here.

Problem is that Android is already well established. Yeah, iPhones and iPads are the highest individual sellers, but that's because there's only one of each, compared to hundreds if not thousands of choices for Android devices. Google's a legitimate force, and Apple's just admitted that by paying EA off.

Posted by nantukoprime

The reason Apple and EA are responding to this has to do with Apple's recent legal history. They were recently considered a party in some shady deals to break Amazon's market position when it came to ebooks. Specifically price fixing. The publishers they made these deals with were also hit with damages.

So I imagine any claim of a deal that might seem shady to someone is going to get a response from Apple for the forseeable future.

Edited by bunkerbuster05

typo in the first line

Patrick is the Lois Lane of reporting. I mean that in a best way possible.

Online
Posted by TheHBK

That's the end of that chapter.

Posted by flippyandnod

I also have no difficulty believing that Apple compensated EA for timed exclusivity, simply because if EA had a Chinese version ready for Android in September, they would not withhold it for no reason.

However, stating categorically what an employee says (in a comm meeting or no) is proof is kind of crazy. Worthy of reporting? Certainly. Proof that there's something there? Not really.

Anyway, again, the release situation (schedule) is proof enough. It is no harder to believe this is a compensated timed exclusive than it was for Rock Band 2 or for Titanfall.

Edited by masternater27

HOW DARE THEY CALL OUR SCOOPS A LIAR! But really, not a big deal. Important in terms of gaming on mobile, but not really in terms of companies exchanging money or services for exclusivity. It is hilarious to see all the vehement denials though.

Posted by PandaBear

PvZ2 was a much anticipated game. The previous game was available on Android. The Chinese version of PvZ2 is available on Android. However it is launched as an iOS exclusive pissing off a whole lot of Android users. I think a story that explains why this happened is news. That the story has been picked up by half the bloody tech media probably backs that up. Of course I'm spending my time commenting on it so I could be biased...

Dead Rising 3 was originally in development for PC and Xbox One, then Microsoft paid to have it made exclusively for Xbox One. Essentially one company paid another for exclusivity. Apple paid to get a game exclusively... it's not unusual in the industry. In fact this is just a timed exclusive, so it's not even that bad. I mean does it matter that much that it's front page news? This is a Twitter post at best.

Online
Posted by jimmyfenix

Due to this EA will not send the Bombcrew Pizzas anymore.

Posted by Tober

Scoops knows what's up!

Posted by aceofspudz

THESE MOTHERFUCKERS CALLIN SCOOPS A LIAR

LOOK'S LIKE SOMEONE'S GONNA GET GOT BLAT BLAT

ALL Y'ALL MOTHERFUCKERS GOIN' DOWN. EA? YOU TOO. APPLE? YOU TOO.

Posted by jasondesante

keep diggin scoops! :D

Posted by porjos

@pandabear: It's news because it is information being reported. If it doesn't pertain to your interests, it is still news. I find it interesting, and worth commenting on. If you did not think it was interesting, then why are you commenting?

Edited by GaspoweR

THESE MOTHERFUCKERS CALLIN SCOOPS A LIAR

LOOK'S LIKE SOMEONE'S GONNA GET GOT BLAT BLAT

Posted by Riotisonfire

This is news?

Posted by Spitznock
Posted by Dagbiker

Is this to cover up some proxy war with google that Apple does not want to enter into? Patrick I hope youre reading this, but their obviously is a philosophy at Apple to never acknowledge competition. (Mark Cuban mindset) To work in a bubble in order to leave your customers in a bubble concerning softwares. I personally own apple products and I guess their fear is Google will start defining to the masses about operating systems while Apple hopes to keep the masses in the dark by making them believe there is no Linux. Hopefully Google sees this and steps it up in competition. I personally like how Apple products handle UI wise which I've always supported. Android is to clunky for me, but I don't want Apple treating me as if I'm an idiot. Which is what they are doing here.

Google already knows. Google has anticipated this. Google has already won.

Posted by StarvingPoet

The best part about this is that it's news specifically because EA and Apple have just made it news.