Apple denies it paid EA to delay Plants vs Zombies 2 for Android

by: Bogdan PetrovanSeptember 25, 2013


When it comes to the old iOS vs Android debate, Apple fans often bring into discussion iOS-exclusive apps and apps that developers release on Android months after their launch on iOS.

For the most part, the argument is valid. Due to a variety of reasons, developers do have an easier time developing and selling applications on Apple’s platform.

In some cases though, the delays have little to do with the challenges of developing the Android app, and more with deals that happen behind closed doors. That’s what might’ve happened with Plants vs Zombies 2, which came to iOS on August 15, but hasn’t made it to the Play Store yet (it’s only available for Android users in China).

According to gaming website Giant Bomb, an EA executive publicly admitted that Apple paid the publisher a “truckload of money” to delay the Android version of PvZ 2.

When contacted for comment, Apple denied it paid any money to EA to delay the launch of Plants vs Zombie 2 for Android. However, the carefully worded answer leaves room for interpreting, since EA and Apple could have opted for a barter or a different type of transaction that doesn’t involve money changing hands.

Exclusivity deals are nothing new in the gaming industry, with Sony and Microsoft regularly “persuading” publishers to delay the release of their titles to competing platforms for a certain time. These deals usually involve a payout to the developer, to cover the loss in profits caused by the exclusivity period.

However, this story comes in the context of discussions about fragmentation and how it affects the user experience on Android. Just last week, Apple CEO deplored the state of fragmentation on Android, saying it’s a “compound problem” that denies users access to certain apps.

A quick Google search for “plants vs zombies 2 fragmentation” brings up articles and discussions (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) where the popular game is used to exemplify the damaging effect of fragmentation on Android.

Alas, there may be more than meets the eye about the release of PvZ 2 and possibly of other popular titles.

[Update] According to TechCrunch‘ sources, the EA exec did make the statement, but it was meant like an “off-the-cuff joke of sorts”.

  • fatyss

    This article is full of flamewars and clickbait too. Without proof you cant say anything.

    • swtrainer

      fatyss, I think if you read the article, it is a precise report of what
      was written (“According to gaming website Giant Bomb…”) and of
      Apple’s denial (“Apple denied it paid any money to EA…”). But,
      apparently, you and your journalistic expertise see things
      differently…oh, guess you haven’t listed or provided proof of your journalistic
      expertise…therefore, you shouldn’t say anything…but you did.

      • fatyss

        i meant to say “we cant say anything about the issue” and please read article how it is written specially “plants vs zombies 2 fragmentation” what was the need of this on article

      • RaptorOO7

        Its all in how you interpret CrApples carefully crafted response. They may not have paid directly , but if they barter for it, say they take a smaller % of IAP money then they are in effect PAYING for it.

        If MS claimed Play Station was fragmented because it didn’t get a certain title(s) and in fact MS paid to hold it back from SONY then it not a real argument.

    • Somedude


  • fatyss

    This article is full of flamewars . Without proof we cant say anything about whats the truth.

  • Balraj

    What if Apple paid them? You yourself said, its nothing new..
    Google has more money than Apple..
    As you said its easy to develop for Apple n android
    4 inch,5 inch,6 inch,7 inch,8 inch,9 inch,10 inch
    Omg..Its hard n also its easier to pirate android games lol
    Biggest problem of being open source..not developer friendly…
    That’s the reason high end games are free to play app purchase like rr3,fifa 14, many more will join this year
    Even they need to make money !!!! For their hard work

    • APai

      “Google has more money than Apple..”
      i really doubt that!

      • Balraj

        You have a few points but lets face it…fifa or rr was not a free title before..freemium with in-app purchase is a result of piracy asia n africa are big continent..btw its easy to get any apk from know that,ik that..developersmake more money from Apple than android..btw Apple devices are less compared to android.maybe 40:60 ratio or more.recently I read in India we have 90%android n some 2.3% Apple
        So in theory android developer must make 10 times more than Apple? But that’s not the case? Asia is biggest continent? So its not easy to control big environment..Windows os? Huge but piracy is everywhere.same prob with android.I’m not telling android is not consumer friendly..but its definitely not developer friendly..
        Get the facts right mate.if you were a developer, would you mind, if 70% of ppl from Asia/Africa where not paying for your app?
        What has happened to Windows desktop will happen to android os in future..
        Also future developers can force in-app purchase in games..not everybody can pay a ton for games.when I said not easy,I didn’t mean its pain to develop but it is a pain to get money back..I’ll give you an example, in India itself,90% of ppl have pirated version of riptide gp 2 installed.price is 200inr.let’s say 1million ppl have pirated the game,imagine the loss, that’s the reason for going in-app fully..
        I hope you get my point..

        • APai

          first up: I’m NOT in support of piracy.

          #2: freemium has nothing to do with piracy – it’s simply a different business model. look at the biggest apps/ games out there – they are still a buck (rovio, asphalt series, disney series, halfbricks, zeptolabs, etc.)….and there are the $3-8 (or more) the development costs are pretty high – rockstar, most EA titles, gameloft, ubisoft, etc.
          EA has all kinds of pricing – extensive development but still a buck, freemium, and expensive games. they are all responses to different segments of people.

          # apple and android – rooting and jailbreaking is either done by hobbyists or the friendly phone shop around the corner. apple phones aren’t preferred in india simply because android phones offer better value for money, plus you can sideload apps without the need to jailbreak. however, I’ve seen plenty of iphone users simply using pirated apps (after jailbreaking/ cydia).

          the piracy attitude is platform agnostic

          # “So in theory android developer must make 10 times more than Apple? ”
          do you think every MAC user buys a macbook pro ? or that they ALL buy the adobe creative suite ?
          plenty of android user happen to be the ones who have just upgraded their feature phone, and simply content with freebies. there’s plenty of freebies around. Also, apple users are most likely to be far wealthier and can be counted as a large niche. do remember that apple users are often shafted by service providers thinking they are the more “discerning” crowd and might pay more, unlike android users who are more price conscious. for me android is a win because you don’t get fleeced, “just because you carry an iphone”.

          # to say that android is lenient with piracy is like saying microsoft windows is a piracy heaven vs MAC. so why aren’t everyone rushing towards MAC ? it certainly has not stopped developers from investing in the windows platform since forever now.

          # “Get the facts right mate.if you were a developer, would you mind, if 70% of ppl from Asia/Africa where not paying for your app?”
          …and yet, adobe, microsoft and scores of others have persisted for decades at end simply because if they don’t someone else will take their place. someday when the developing nations move on – piracy will not be that rampant.

          # the answer to piracy is pricing based on purchase parity. nokia used to have it along with carrier billing, which makes it easier to pay. Also, abroad in markets like USA – where app purchases are the maximum – the phones are bought on contract. HUGE difference. so your phone bills are split and you have extra cash to spend on apps. not only that – there are gift cards for apps. credit card penetration in india is very low too. so, to tackle all of these issues – you need to give the asian markets more time. like I said, piracy is not an android only issue , as you make it out to be.

          • Balraj

            You still don’t get it…most ppl like Adobe, ms office, many other benefit from business segment like laptops come with legit os
            All I’m trying to say is
            Developers make more money from Apple than android
            Even if you say,android developer get more money
            The margin is very less
            If 10 devices can fetch you same money for 100 devices? Give importance to 10 devices? Less imp to other devices
            I’m fremium was meant to stop piracy…cause whether you get the game from app store or side load it
            You got to pay for something b4 you complete the game
            Android is not developer friendly in money point of you
            Fremium is next thing that can stop paid app piracy

          • APai

            first up, there’s no linear scaling in app uptake, just because android has more numbers. android’s target market is much more diverse.

            pulling out the calculator and computing one’s profits based on market size is horrible way to go about marketing for ANY market it’s like building castles in air. digital market is as yet evolving, apple is doing good because they have a captive market and they own the entire stack from hardware to software. me thinks you are trivializing a huge issue.

            android has it’s strengths, Apple has it’s own positives and negatives. it’s not even a fair comparison. If you only address those, will a developer be able to understand and target his app to the end user, price it appropriately, and evolve a strategy.

          • Balraj

            Android has a huge market share worldwide..
            So if a app is good n is downloaded by most android user for certain money
            He should be making huge profits? But that’s not the case
            So something must be going wrong
            Idk if this argument will lead us to a conclusion..
            But, most of the apps are priced reasonably..
            The profit margin between Apple n “huge android”is very less
            So something is really wrong

          • APai

            “He should be making huge profits? But that’s not the case”
            if an app is downloaded from play store, he makes the same kind of money he makes on app store. I simply don’t get your point.

            suppose asphalt 8 sold the same numbers on both platforms – they both give gameloft the same amount of money.

            so, what exactly are you talking about ?

          • APai

            “most ppl like Adobe, ms office, many other benefit from business segment like laptops come with legit os”

            the same companies also abuse their monopolistic positions. the ones who make the most money are monolithic corporations convicted several times for monopolistic practices. it’s anti consumer, and curtail freedom & choice.

            google/ android is halfway between completely open or completely closed (like apple/ microsoft mobile platform). I for one am thankful that we have choice and the relatively open structure in place. we have multiple markets in android. unlike a completely closed apple’s market. and a direct consequence is that many niche apps launch only on IOS, which I feel is a natural outcome. that’s a plus with apple. graphic designers/ video editing and the like have great tools on the apple ecosystem for a long time now. it continues to do so.

          • Balraj

            But you just backed them up in your prev comment….

          • APai

            what exactly are you talking about ?

    • RaptorOO7

      For one thing CrApple is using PVZ2 as a corner stone in their argument about fragmentation so based on the stories circulating that they paid EA directly or indirectly (barter) then they have a direct impact and their argument is mute.

      As for screen size, really that is your argument apparently you don’t know much about Android. Screen is no longer relevant is resolution that is key and more ever device now is 720p or 1080p where is CrApple, no where near that. I can install any app on any of my Android devices without issue.

      • Apple_Nexus

        Every time you write CrApple you sound so smart and it makes your drivel that much more palatable.

        Fragmentation not an issue? Why does Plants vs Zombies looked blurred on my Android tablet with graphical glitches on sprites but looks crisp and beautiful on iPads in the Apple store?

        • Boonlumsion Piyapon

          On “top level” Android phone or some tablet like Nexus 7 (2013) you get more pixel density on Android than iphone’s retina display.

          Yes it’s does get scale by game’s engine. But you never feel or see it. you just know that it’s got scale.

          It’s as big issue as when you see 720p/1080p movie scale to fit 1136×640 iphone or 2048×1536 ipad.

      • Balraj

        I’m not talking about app not working properly
        My point is.let’s say you have a 4 inch device n I have 5.5 inch device
        We are playing a game/productivity app..Its work great on both are device but since my device screen is much bigger(more space)
        Developers can add more control on my device than yours?
        That’s the problem I’m worried about.even though developers can make great apps for any screen size, they just can’t make use of extra screen size just because they have to keep in mind.screen size ranging from 3.5 inch to 6.4 inch for mobile?
        I.hope you get my point..
        That’s y I mentioned screen size..

        • Boonlumsion Piyapon

          Answer is Android’s Responsive Design.

          Developers can add more or bigger control on bigger screen. Everything can flow and fit to any screen size.

          But not all of Android’s app using Responsive Design yet.

          • Balraj

            So…? It’s still broke I guess?

  • Gorea Vlad

    it’s kind of simple actually…the missing proof is in the facts…naturally it’s in popcap’s interess to develop and release pvz2 for android platform to, more income for an finished product….the fact that it is out for IOS since quite some time and there isen’t even an release date for android it’s clear they are getting paid unofficial from apple….it’s all about money basicly, and the fact that they are ignoring/delayng an huge market with the posibility to increase theyr income for the already finished produkt means that they are getting that income from elsewhere….it’s kind of cristal clear

  • Ishaan Malhotra

    Why do some idiots fight on behalf of these companies? Are you getting paid by them?

    • Hanshen Jordan

      how about yes :)

      • Ishaan Malhotra

        Ok then.. I need this job

  • Oli72

    I’m not surprise from apple denying it. Sad and even more sad.

  • AndroidShiz

    Maybe they didn’t technically exchange money, but I bet you they’re (maybe) not charging them the usual 30 % that they charge developers when consumers buy an app through the App Store. Not having to give 30% of your profits away would give them huge gains if it’s being downloaded by the tens of millions.

    • Android Developer

      the game is free…
      or maybe you meant the in-app purchases?

      • AndroidShiz

        In app

        • Android Developer

          in-app purchases also take 30% for google (or apple , depends on the service) .

  • NeedName

    Pretty sad *IF* apple worked with them to delay it coming out on Android and then used that “delay” to support an argument against Android OS in any way shape or form — you have to be a VERY scared company to sink that low.

  • deepen03

    well of course Apple and EA would both deny it! HAHA. Apple is full of sh*t, they obviously made a backroom deal with EA. when an EA executive says something, it definitely is TRUE.

  • deepen03

    also, for anyone who really wants the game.. just google for the APK file, you can install it and it has been shown to work. the joys of an open source Android OS :D

  • Fox Ray

    Well it’s not only Apple who denies it, EA denies it as well and the exec now says that his joke was taken completely out of context.

  • Android Developer

    Now a similar thing happens for “Where’s my water 2” (free game BTW).
    It’s out for IOS and WP before Android…