An Industry Insight: Will Gamers Suffer in the Bid for Mobile Exclusivity?

On a fundamental level, the commercial concept of exclusivity may not seem particularly appealing to business-owners. After all, taking the decision to partner exclusively with a specific supplier or retailer requires you to drastically limit your potential consumer base, while also forcing you to lose a semblance of control in terms of how your product is marketed, packaged and sold.

In instances where leading international brands are prepared to pay handsomely for such loyalty, however, exclusivity can suddenly seem far more appealing. This is certainly the case in the mobile gaming industry at present, where technological giants Google and Apple are competing for exclusive rights to major titles within the international market.

The Mobile Gaming Market and how Exclusivity Rights Apply

When you consider that a staggering 80% of all mobile usage is committed to games and applications, it is clear why the world’s leading tech companies are competing for exclusivity and dominance within this marketplace. The growth of the market has also been pronounced in recent times, to the point where it is beginning to challenge the video game sector in terms of popularity and profitability. It is this that has driven both Google and Apple in their attempts to secure exclusive games for their respective operating systems, and subsequently replicate the type of competition that has existed in the video game sector for more than a decade.

002While video game operators like Sony and Nintendo would often offer financial incentives to developers in a bid to secure exclusivity, however, the leading players in the mobile sector deal in front page promotion and marketing. The example set by the recently released Plants vs. Zombies 2 provides a relevant case in point, as publisher Electronic Arts (EA) made the game exclusively available to Apple and the iOS operating system in exchange for prominent promotion on the App Store’s front page. This is likely to set a prominent trend in the months ahead, with three month exclusivity deals such as this enabling firms to gain a critical market advantage.

The Impact on Gamers: What does it mean for you?

As is often the case when businesses compete by offering exclusivity to manufacturers, designers and developers, it is the customer who is most likely to miss out. This is particularly true in this instance, as gamers may find that their favourite games become inaccessible depending on the specific handset that they own. Given the cost of owning a smartphone and the popularity of mobile gaming on a global scale, such restrictions are extremely inconvenient and may ultimately force companies such as Google and Apple to reach some sort of amicable compromise for the benefit of their customers.

It is also worth noting that while exclusivity deals will impact heavily on leading titles with international appeal, independent and casino games are likely to remain relatively untouched. This is because such a deal would be less beneficial for the parties involved, while titles such as Royal Vegas thrives on its ability to engage with as wide an audience as possible. With this in mind, these independent providers may ultimately benefit from exclusivity as restricted gamers search for enjoyable and accessible alternatives to their favourite titles.

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