Jul 30 2013

What’s holding Android gaming back

Android Game

The global mobile industry is now dominated by Android platform. The initial quarter of 2013 has seen that around 75% of the world’s mobile devices ran on Google’s mobile platform. Regardless of these figures Android is still under pressure making its presence felt in the ever growing gaming market. Although there are many great games available on this platform, the developers get mainly concerned due to the low in-app profits, piracy and patchy hardware.

If we look into the downloaded apps category, Google’s mobile OS holds the largest share mainly because of the total number of android devices in the market. When we compare other mobile OS like the iOS and Symbian, Android beats them by a considerable margin. This is what meets the eye but when we dig deeper, we find out that there is a setback: Most of the Android users are reluctant in buying apps. According to a recent survey, Android users merely account for 20 % of the total app revenue in the initial quarter of 2013 while the Apple users were responsible for a whopping 74 % share in the app revenue. These figures are based on variety of apps and not merely games. This survey conveys a clear picture to the app developers: iOS apps will fetch you money. In turn this makes the game developers more prone to creating games for the Apple platform.

Unfortunately, this means that more number of good mobile games is first being developed for the iOS devices. Many a times it is seen that game studios release their games first on the App Store, and then we find it on Google Play after a long time.

Telltale Games, the studio behind The Walking Dead, which was a smash hit last year, released a mobile version for its iOS users but this never made through to Android. Poker Night 2 which is Telltale’s latest game also is available only for iOS. Steve Allison Telltale’s senior vice-presidentsays that “Apple as an app marketplace has proven itself by directly connecting to the user at the other end of the Apple device, which means more reliability”. Allison also mentioned that “The Google Play is an ecosystem of several stores which makes it more unpredictable to managing gamers on a per game basis”.

This ecosystem of several stores grows into a larger problem when game developers look into the hardware running Google’s OS. There are many companies which are producing wide variety of devices with varying hardware specifications which makes it all the more difficult for game developers to predict what they have to deliver to the end-user. This has become a frustrating challenge for game developers. According to another survey, there are more than 4000 different devices running the Android platform. A fraction of which is only capable of running the top-end games. Allison adds that “the android devices with the maximum install base are just not created to handle 3D gaming efficiently”.

Putting the specification of devices aside, piracy still remains a major concern in the app market as developers do not get their money even after putting in some much effort. Google has come up with many creative solutions for its developers to remotely shut down their apps if acquired illegally. Steve Martin of Google shares that “every game need not be free to play as the developers put in lot of hard work and they need to make money accordingly”.

Clearly the concern of patched hardware still remains a challenge, but according to the studio Telltale there are lots of upcoming android devices this year which address this issue of high end hardware. Telltale studio’s is expected to enter the Android world in near future.

Author Bio: Jason Phillips has an extraordinary passion for gaming and gadgets. He is an avid gamer who loves playing video games from childhood. Now he owns a number of online gaming sites including Sonic Games 365.

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