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.
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.