Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×
Android Cellphones Handhelds IOS Games

With Respect To Gaming, Android Still Lags Behind iOS (bgr.com) 166

An anonymous reader writes: No matter what you think about the Android/iOS divide from either a hardware or software perspective, there's simply no getting around the fact that many developers still take an iOS-first approach with respect to app development. With games, where development costs are already sky-high, the dynamic is even more pronounced. For instance, one of the most addictive, successful, and highly rated apps currently available on the App Store is a great snowboarding game called Alto's Adventure. It was originally released this past February for the iPhone and iPad (and now the Apple TV). Still today, nine months after its initial release, an Android version of the app remains non-existent. Now if you're an Android user who happens to enjoy mobile gaming, it's easy to see how this dynamic playing out over and over again can quickly become an endless source of frustration.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

With Respect To Gaming, Android Still Lags Behind iOS

Comments Filter:
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @06:22AM (#50907317) Homepage

    Is iOS simply more profitable?
    Is Android harder to program or support?
    Is code easily portable?
    Do iOS devices have more hardware resources?

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pieroxy ( 222434 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @06:28AM (#50907329) Homepage

      I think your first two points are the reason. People using iOS are far more likely to actually PAY for a game (or any other app for that matter). The fact that the iOS platform is far more homogeneous (At any point in time you have to cover 2 versions of the OS, three tablets and three phones to address 90+% of iOS users) make also development costs lower. Lower costs, higher profits, yes, the iOS platform is most likely an order of magnitude more profitable than Android.

      • Re: Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

        Yeah there may be a million more Android users than iOS users but a good chunk of those are still on gingerbread or Froyo even and infested with exploits. It's hard to do tech support for a $3 app when the platform is probably at fault. Google is actually hurting its revenue picture on the app side by encouraging the abandonment of older devices through its policies. Android is popular enough now that Google really could tell the carriers the way it's going to be like Apple has been doing. It's a shame they

        • Re: Why? (Score:5, Informative)

          by jofas ( 1081977 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @09:16AM (#50907735)
          Your numbers are very creative: - iOS only captured 47.5 of 341.5 million in Q2 2015 (http://www.idc.com/prodserv/smartphone-os-market-share.jsp) - Froyo and Gingerbread account for only 4% of total Android version together (http://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html) - Average devel cost of iOS *or* Android app is closer to $100K, and that's for companies with the cash to throw at it. (http://www.comentum.com/mobile-app-development-cost.html)
          • > iOS only captured 47.5 of 341.5 million in Q2 2015

            That's an interesting graph for a number of reasons, but what caught my eye in particular is that the iOS and Android lines are an exact mirror image of each other. iOS clearly sells as a gift item, and its xmas-season upticks appear to cause an Android downturn.

            And that actually doesn't make sense. If Android is the sort of go-to system for someone "just buying a phone", as opposed to "buying a present", I wouldn't think iOS sales would have any effect

            • iOS spikes higher in 4Q because Apple typically releases the new iPhone in late 3Q/early 4Q, so there's a lot of seasonality to the sales. Android devices, on the other hand, are more evenly spread through the year.

          • Those numbers you pointed to show the entire problem. The version with the highest number of devices is currently 4.4 (Kitkat) with 37.8%. It was relesed 2 years ago. Then there's 4 other versions with between 10% and 15% of the users each. Only 26% of users are on Version 5 or above. And it was released over a year ago. There might not be a lot of users on Gingerbread, but I'm sure there's a lot of devices on the shelf or on the trash heap that users have simply abandoned because they' won't run newer s

            • by Anonymous Coward

              The problem has less to do with device OS and hardware and more to do with the respective app store policies and sales model. Also, check your facts: there are exactly 0 devices that shipped with Gingerbread capable of running KitKat.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              You know, if you reframed your discussion in the context of Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8 a few years ago, you'd be in the same boat. Yet oddly there were tons of Windows games being released every year and Mac OS X gaming lagged behind (if games were released for it at all). Clearly in both cases, you could just target the oldest version (Jelly Bean/XP) and cover 90+% of users. So that's obviously not the issue. What would likely be the issue is instead that Android games are generally expected to be che

              • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

                You know, if you reframed your discussion in the context of Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8 a few years ago, you'd be in the same boat. Yet oddly there were tons of Windows games being released every year and Mac OS X gaming lagged behind (if games were released for it at all). Clearly in both cases, you could just target the oldest version (Jelly Bean/XP) and cover 90+% of users. So that's obviously not the issue. What would likely be the issue is instead that Android games are generally expected to be cheap a

          • As someone who has worked as a developer for a few small games on both platforms (this was back in the Android 2.0 - 3.0 days), I can say that hands-down iOS was MUCH quicker to develop a "finished" product that works well on all devices. The OS version matters only a tiny bit. What matters a lot more is manufacturer, screen size, resolution, aspect ratio, etc. Some specific Android devices had issues initializing OpenGL ES (causing it to work great on 9 phone models but crash on the 10th), different models

        • Re: Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo AT world3 DOT net> on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @10:39AM (#50908151) Homepage

          a good chunk of those are still on gingerbread or Froyo even

          Which is of course horse shit. A mere 4% of users are on pre-4.0 versions of the OS [android.com], and their devices are likely not powerful enough to run any game that actually cares about API features from later versions.

          Android had over 80% of the market in 2014, and rising. Even if any given Android user spends only 1/5th as much on apps, it's still as lucrative as iOS.

          Finding a few games that are not out on Android means nothing. There are popular Android games not out on iOS. There are many games that can never come out on iOS due to content restrictions. The reasons why games don't always come out on every platform are complex, and looking at the AAA titles that are available on Android it's obvious that there is no problem developing or making money on the platform.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by rsborg ( 111459 )

            There are popular Android games not out on iOS. There are many games that can never come out on iOS due to content restrictions.

            Some claims that require citations. Care to share? Please leave out games that are functional equivalents to iOS editions.

          • a few months ago i watched a part of an interview with a CTO of a navigation software company (they have apps for ios/android/blackberry/wp8). i think it was Sygic but i'm not sure now. he said 92% of all android installations of their software were pirated vs a completely negligible percentile on iOS. they get telemetry data from the app so they know exact numbers. he also said that historically, the worst piracy was on symbian.

            if i was getting such levels of piracy on my app, i'd just give up on that plat

      • I think you took his second point the wrong way, feature wise you can support Kitkat for android and that'll cover ~70% of users or something like that. Sure that's not the newest version and there won't be material design but it is a good enough starting place, to then later add a specific version for the newest version. For games i think those features matter even less, what you'll probably need the most is the graphics API which doesn't really change from version to version of a mobile OS. I think he was
        • Java call from native which is really ugly to do...

          Not really, you call your C API from a jni layer, big deal. What's so messy about that? The bigger problem in my mind are 1) Everything has a version you need to be aware of, from the api to java itself to the vm to external libraries to widgets, which is typical in development but its really kind of hairy with android. Still, development is possible. I've written a few android apps, its certainly doable. But calling an api from and ndk library through JNI is hardly "ugly", its not even a big deal. Google h

          • Are you referring to making a C/C++ call from Java? Cause that is a whole lot different and a lot easier to make than a Java call from C/C++. JNI is ugly, just because "that's the way it is" doesn't make it not ugly nor should that be the reason Google's actions should be tolerated. You make it sound like it isn't possible to have more than one language for an OS. Windows and pretty much every other platform that supports Java easily supports C/C++ and Java without one limiting the other. It isn't excusable
            • Oh please, show me a language that doesn't have what you call "ugliness" in it. Having to use unicode strings in your app because it'll run on windows (why microsoft couldn't use the saner utf8 character set is beyond me) but, yes, "that's the way it is". Not sure how that's an indication of "ugliness". You want something to work, do it right, or create your own mechanism. You're completely free to take the android platform and create your own programming environment using what ever language you want if you
              • Using unicode isn't the problem, which tells me you probably don't understand why that code is ugly. Microsoft does allow utf8 character for windows, you can choose between the two.

                I wouldn't need to create a union, cause i would simply program in C++. Even in Android's situation, Google could easily make some sort of C++ library for Android where they do all the JNI calls themselves. That way the user would never have to use JNI themselves. Even from there, odds are the Java code for the Android library
        • I think you took his second point the wrong way, feature wise you can support Kitkat for android and that'll cover ~70% of users or something like that.

          Except that there is an enormous range of hardware. For every iPhone hardware revision there are thousands of Android device hardware revisions, thinking that you can just code for an OS when you have a huge amount of hardware variation is very naive. The difficulty is in making sure the game runs decently on a vast range of hardware. It's easy to test on all supported hardware configurations for the latest iOS release but how do you do that for Android KitKat for example?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think that...
      Yes, it is more profitable. Higher % or users who pay for apps, more difficulty to install "non-store" apps.
      No, it is not that harder to program or support. Android device and version fragmentation is higher, but imho this is not that painful at all.
      Almost as portable (due to fragmentation basically).
      No, they do not necessarily have more HW resources, but there is a small number of devices, therefore device-specific optimization is possible in iOS (not in Android, with thousands of devices wi

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

      by jareth-0205 ( 525594 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @06:37AM (#50907345) Homepage

      As an Android developer of the last 6 years, my opinion:

      Is iOS simply more profitable?

      In a word - yes. Android users tend not to buy apps directly, iOS there seems to be an acceptance that most good apps will be paid, and Android most apps are free. If you can get money out of the user in a different way (eg subscriptions made elsewhere) it seems more even, but as for mobile purchases, the culture around Apple is more willing.

      Is Android harder to program or support? Is code easily portable?

      There are different challenges certainly but all the teams I've worked in have moved at about the same speed. The myth that Android is hard to program doesn't bear-out in reality. I think libraries like Unity mean there are even less platform differences in games than with plan apps.

      Do iOS devices have more hardware resources?

      No, top-end Androids usually have more power than current iPhones, but iPhones are more homogenous, which makes tuning easier. Also they don't stick around as long (partly because Apple upgrade them into uselessness) so I think the average iPhone is newer than the average Android.

      • by west ( 39918 )

        It certainly doesn't help when (as I witnessed) a salesman tried to persuade someone to drop the iPhone they were considering buying and buy a Samsung using the sales line "With iPhone, you have to buy your apps. With Android, everyone gets them for free.."

        There's an eye-opening amount of piracy on iPhone (I was amazed at the numbers), but from what I've read from developers and the numbers in general, it pales in comparison with the piracy rates on Android.

        The idea that a large number of people pirate at

        • by Shados ( 741919 )

          Its kind of scary how when I google for an app for android, for reviews or something, I have to wade through all the pirate site links. Often, the legitimate links are several entries below the pirate links.

          And yeah, there's a lot of people at this point (and not FOSS zealots), who will just not pay for software.

          At the office, I'm always seeing people who make 150k+ a year balk at the idea of paying 10 bucks for a piece of software they use every day in their side projects, and they pirate it instead. Payin

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            Have you tried reporting the pirate links to the application's developer so that the developer can forward a Notice of Claimed Infringement to the pirate site or to the pirate site's ISP?

            • Have you tried reporting the pirate links to the application's developer so that the developer can forward a Notice of Claimed Infringement to the pirate site or to the pirate site's ISP?

              I thought piracy was OK because it gave free publicity to the creator, and didn't cost them any money because the person pirating wouldn't have bought it anyway, and you'll pay full price for it if it's any good after you've played it a few times, and copyright is evil on principle in the first place?

              Or does that only apply to music and movies and other things that most people here only consume rather than create?

              • I personally refuse to endorse the litany of infringement excuses commonly repeated on Slashdot by "information wants to be free" types. But one I will endorse is when the copyright owner either A. cannot be located and contacted or B. refuses to offer a license at a royalty close to the royalty for comparable uses of comparable works. The law at least ought to make statutory damages unavailable in those cases, allowing a reuser to put a reasonable royalty into a trust with which to settle with the copyrigh

            • by west ( 39918 )

              Have you tried reporting the pirate links...

              You can play an infinite game of whack-a-mole with these sites.

              My wife's an author, and while she had the good grace to just ignore it, I was irritated enough to write polite letters to the first half-dozen sites when pirate book sites started to appear. One actually wrote an apology and took it down. Another replied in broken English to indicate what would happen if I tried to further interfere with his revenue stream (most pirate sites generate revenue in the

      • by Anonymous Coward

        (partly because Apple upgrade them into uselessness) so I think the average iPhone is newer than the average Android.
         
        This claim has been debunked numerous times. This kind of FUD is what makes me wonder why I should bother to listen to anything else the OP has to say.

    • Is iOS more profitable: iOS are often known as premium system. So they have some extra money they want to pay for this preseved premium. So they will be more willing to pay for such apps. Plus many are still from the iPod days and still have an account to the Apple Store to get their music. Android users are less likely to pay for an app and not give out financial data again.

      Is android harder to support: iPhone and iPad are the biggest brand of any one company. Android has a bunch of manufactures and diff

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        Actually from what I see, iOS is more popular with kids, who are more likely to have money to spend on games themselves or have parents that are willing to throw them a couple bucks to shut them up. iOS is not the 'premium' OS as people say, it is the OS for grade-schoolers.
        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

          Slashdotters living in basements have a slightly skewed worldview. You may have noticed.

        • You've hit the nail on the head. Kids and iPods aren't ever factored in to the 'smartphone market share' numbers, but my guess is 50%+ of the iOS sales are actually kids on iPods. I'm basing this guess on the behaviors of my 5 kids, 3 of which have iPods and regularly spend money on them, and the two oldest have Android phones and have never spent a penny on purchases.
        • The network usage numbers back this up too. Every pro-Apple site seemed to crow over the NetMarketShare stats showing iOS having roughly twice the browser traffic of Android. The reality was that Android passed iOS web traffic in 2013. How can that be? NetMarketShare (Net Applications) tracks a relatively small sample of sites (about 40,000), and only counts individual visits in a month. So when they said iOS traffic exceeded Android traffic by nearly 2x, what they meant was there were 2x as many unique
        • Sure it would be more popular with Kids, because it is the platform with all the games. Back in them good old days before mobile devices, parents gave kids designer name brand clothing, shoes designed for sport stars, and that Cabbage Patch Kid better have that logo somewhere or your child will be shamed. The fact that kids use it doesn't mean it is less premium, but the fact the parents are willing to pay extra so their kids can have the best, and not be ridiculed for not being on top of the latest name b

          • The difference is, at my wealth demographi l, I didn't go to school with kids who wore 'name brand' stuff. In fact clothes were rarely discussed at all. Now my kids are at the same level of wealth that I am perhaps a little less wealthy, and all their friends have phones and judging by how they imessage each other, they are mostly ios.

            it's imessage that is the thing. Not sure why imessage is so popular over Skype, sms, or any of the other messaging apps that come out weekly but that is how all the kid
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      or 5/ is apple paying developers not to release products for Android? (hint: they were caught paying the developers of plants vs. zombies not to release a version for android)

      • They were "caught"? Since when has it been an industry secret that platform owners give incentives to publishers for exclusives? Google is not exactly struggling, it could easily do the same.

    • Re: Why? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Is iOS simply more profitable?

      For many measures of this yes.

      iOS has a much higher percentage of paid (either up front or In App Purchase) revenue, and much higher average revenue per user.

      Android revenue by comparison has a much higher proportion of Ad supported, which on a App basis is much lower per device.

      Is Android harder to program or support?

      Yes to both. With iOS you can nail 90% of devices in sticking to n and n-1 OS version feature sets, and a handful of screen sizes (3.5", 4",4.7",5.5", 7.9", 9.7",

    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      I expect the main reason is there are only a handful of iOS devices to worry about, predominantly sold in a handful of core countries. Compared to the multitude of Android devices sold all over the place. It probably represents a smaller risk and development effort even if the Android game ends up being the long tale that sustains the game when it does get ported.
    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      According to John Carmack, that's basically the first two.
      When asked about Android, he usually complains about the poor native (C++) code support compared to iOS and the consoles. Java works well but game developers typically prefer native code for performance reasons. Quote : "It has been a couple months since I said this. I hate the Android mixed java / native build environment SO MUCH."
      Back in 2011, when he considered porting Rage to Android, he also mentioned maket limitations (probably gone by now) and

    • by kbg ( 241421 )

      I think it's the following:

      1) Fragmentation of Android platforms. You not only have to test for all the different versions of Android you also have to test on different vendors platforms.
      2) The Android SDK is constantly changing on a massive scale and things are being deprecated left and right with almost no downward compatibility, so making a simple app and updating it with fixes becomes an enormous task. Y constantly have throw away code and rewrite and redesign your app when you upgrade the SDK.
      3) There

    • Is iOS simply more profitable? Is Android harder to program or support? Is code easily portable? Do iOS devices have more hardware resources?

      In Order:

      Yes.

      Yes

      Depends

      Not necessarily "more"; but certainly "more predictable"

    • Is iOS simply more profitable?

      Perhaps Android users aren't dumb and/or impulsive enough to fork out for crude graphics on postage stamp-sized screens.

      /ducks :p

  • Hardware (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bickerdyke ( 670000 )

    Espescially with games, it's where the bigger hardware variety turns around and bites Android in the back.

    It's testing on 4 or 5 models vs testing a game on 300 phones.

    Add the fact that iOS users are more willing to pay for Apps (they signed up with their credit card already so those 88ct are 88ct only and not 88ct plus signing up with your credit card at a vendor with questionable reputation of making profits with data)

  • Gaming on a phone is a painful experience unless the phone is physically designed for it like the Nokia N-Gage (talk about a throwback). After playing Angry Birds and Temple Run it's a miracle I haven't smashed my phone more often.
    • I agree with you, but most of the world doesn't - which is what really matters if you want to sell games.
      • by Z80a ( 971949 )

        Most games live off a very small minority of people that drops a *LOT* of cash in games due some sort of compulsion, the so called "whales", while the rest just use the free features.
        So its not exactly "the world" here.

        And probably the whales also tend to buy more expensive, luxury devices like the Apple ones, which would explain the disparity.

        • Ah, the Whales!

          It's interesting to tour the towns of the "top leader board" players of games like Township and Hay Day. What empty lives they must lead, when that's the best they can accomplish with daddy's credit card. You get the feeling they're lonely rich kids trapped in a highrise in Singapore, or Saudi Princesses.

          Township is even out for Windows Phone now, btw.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Angry Birds? Temple Run? The N-Gage?

      Obvious troll is obvious. Try updating this chestnut with some games from the last three years and a spectacularly failed platform from the last ten, then it'll be more subtle.

    • You could always make/play point-and-click games instead of trying to shoehorn directional-control mechanics onto a positional platform. Point-and-click worked for ICOM (MacVenture series), Activision (Return to Zork), Cyan (Myst), Sierra (King's Quest; Leisure Suit Larry), LucasArts (old Monkey Island), and Telltale (modern Monkey Island). Shoot-em-ups such as AirAttack HD also tend to work well, with the touch screen acting like a laptop's trackpad to move the player's vehicle.

      Ideally, gamers would be abl

    • Gaming on a phone is a painful experience unless the phone is physically designed for it like the Nokia N-Gage (talk about a throwback).

      The fact that hundreds of millions of people worldwide don't consider it a painful experience and your hero device was a spectacular failure that nobody wanted would suggest you're more than a little out of touch.

  • by wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @07:38AM (#50907471) Journal

    I live in Vietnam so everything here is pirated already. How bad is it in the U.S. (and other "developed") countries? Are most apps available (illegally) for free?

    Maybe even if they are "pirated" they can still earn revenue for their developers if they earn money through ads. Or have the pirated versions been modified to remove/change the ads?

    • I live in Europe and I don't pirate software anymore but most people I know don't pay for apps (I've bought some). I guess we're just not used to it.
      Also, I think the fact that Android doesn't limit you to apps from the official app store makes pirating easier. I bought some apps legally (e.g.: through humble bundle) which are delivered as simple apk's. You don't need to be root to install whatever apk you come across.
  • I'm kinda out of the business in my 40s. Just as a curiosity, do you think gaming is stronger on consoles, mobile devices or still PC (Steam)?
  • ...may also be a contributing factor. I reckon that being able to install emulators, thus having thousands of pirated oldsk00l games on tap, does hurt the willingness to pay for games.
  • Then someone make a clone for Android and you cry a river because people know about it and probably make the money your should have received. knowing nothing about your game on Android when you release it later. see 2048 history

  • He's not wrong, iOS is definitely easier to code for due to the far lower number of devices compared to the user base.

    Although, I use my phone as a phone. If I want to play a game, I go home and boot my PC up.

    • This. Touch interface sucks for many types of games. When stuck on a long flight I generally end up just playing solitare or 2048, after quickly tiring of the level of focus and frustration from trying to play most everything else. I gave up on data for my phone a few months back, since I so rarely needed it on the go. So I have a quad core bohemoth of a computer in my pocket for phone calls, a few texts, and taking pictures. Luckily I found a phone plan that costs me only $13.41 a month for what I act

  • No frustration. It's not as if Android is lacking in games after all. And IOS-only games are, well, only available on IOS. Since I have no iphone I never hear about them, and don't miss them.

  • When I run out of games to play on my Samsung, I still won't consider Apple because I think their interface and control-freak issues mostly suck the big one. My company forced me to have one for awhile, so I had two phones. I just recently gave it back because a 'free' phone is worth exactly that; I'd rather pay for my Android than use a free iPhone.

    Fortunately, I'm not one of those people who just have to have the latest game or phone so I can be part of the 'in' crowd. I'm happy waiting until my old phone

  • ios has nothing over android. you develop your ios game for profits and you will make 70-90% there, the android version is for reputation only. this is the normal non-candycrush/clashofclans scenario.
  • by engineerErrant ( 759650 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @01:00PM (#50909089)

    I am part owner of an established startup doing mobile games aimed at kids. The decision to support Android was always a contentious one for us, and after years of beating our heads against that wall, I wish we had never done it.

    I won't get into value judgments or rhetoric about openness - the revenue on Android just isn't even faintly close to iOS. Maybe 20 cents on the dollar on a *good* day. But as you might guess, it's taken up a lot more than 20% of our time. This fact is sometimes presented with undertones that iOS developers are just greedy, but it's literally a matter of survival - for us, Android simply cannot sustain a viable business.

    As far as ease of development: the other comments capture it pretty well; both platforms have a lot of annoyances that you have to work around. Compared to my background developing server applications on Linux, I find both platforms shamefully bug-ridden and slapped together, but I wouldn't say that one is noticeably worse in the big picture.

  • Due to unfortunate Apple's decision to set price minimum to $0.99, both app stores are flooded with dumb repetitive gameplay not worth paying for. They should have set base price at $9.99. Then, if someone manages to sell 100 copies of an interesting hobby game, they can buy themselves a new iPad and get motivated to do more.

    Now it could well be that iOS has more copies of Candy Crush than Android, but I am not missing them in any way. What I wish is that Steam had an Android client with cross-platform play

  • Non-facetiously, I do think it also has to do with many of the technical / app store factors already listed here.

    But,

    It takes all of 5 minutes to run through every possible customization option in iOS, which leaves you turning to games that much quicker in your eternal quest to find more ways to stare at your phone. On Android you have a solid week ahead of you of trying out every possible flavor of the settings and apps that customize your phone. And that's just on the 'legit' app store.

    Not denigrati

  • That taking Google out of the equation couldn't fix!

The system was down for backups from 5am to 10am last Saturday.

Working...