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Report: Apple wages war on Google for exclusive mobile games

The fight for mobile dominance takes more than a popular handset and mega-megapixel camera. It also requires the right applications, and major app stores are reportedly vying for exclusive rights to the top money makers.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple and Google are offering top-tier game makers the spotlight on their respective app pages.

Promotional deals have been struck in the past: The August launch of Plants vs. Zombies 2 hit Apple's iTunes Store two months ahead of its Google counterpart, thanks to an arrangement between publisher Electronic Arts and Cupertino. In exchange for two months of exclusive downloads, Apple prominently promoted the title, which was released in the Google Play store in October.

Similarly, ZeptoLab's Cut the Rope sequel was introduced in the Apple App Store—where it received a heavy marketing push—three months ahead of its Android launch.

Neither Apple nor Google immediately responded to our request for comment.

As the Journal pointed out, launching exclusive titles is common practice among video game consoles, but is new to the mobile app arena.

In the early smartphone days, Apple carried the mobile gaming load: boasting one uniform operating system for all devices, it was easy for developers to build games to run on all iOS products. Android, meanwhile, operates on a wide range of gadgets, many of which run different generations of the OS. But Google's platform is quickly gaining on Cupertino.

According to a recent report from analytics firm App Annie, the Google Play store nabbed the most downloads during the first quarter, though Apple's shop still makes more money. Up 10 per cent from the previous quarter, Google Play exceeded Apple Store downloads by about 45 per cent between January and March. Cupertino, however, raked in 85 per cent more money than its competitor. And, unsurprisingly, it is mobile games that drive the most growth in both stores—accounting for 75 per cent of revenue for Apple and 90 per cent for Google.

The two Silicon Valley heavyweights aren't the only ones vying for gaming exclusivity, though. According to the Journal, Amazon is also offering premium placement in its app store.