When it comes to creating a game for the mobile platforms, developers are faced with a tight decision – should they target the iOS platform or the Android platform? Both platforms are very competitive and have a huge market share, so what’s the best bet? While it’s obvious that the opinions may vary, Android does tend to offer some bigger advantages for game developers. Here’s a list of the most notable advantages in developing games for Android.
Android uses Java as its main programming language, a language developers might already be familiar with. This means that, instead of spending time to learn a new programming language from scratch, developers can jump right in and start getting creative.
This might not seem as a very important aspect, some people even considering learning a new language a plus, which can totally be correct, but think about it this way: if you’re a game developer looking to make a profit as quickly as possible, having to spend time learning a new programming language is the last thing you want to deal with.
The game submission process on the Android platform is far quicker and far less complicated than its iOS counterpart. This is a result of Apple’s very restrictive policy, which has some very strict guidelines to be followed. Again, for a developer in a rush to make some money, having to comply with all types of weird requirements can be quite frustrating.
Google’s ecosystem is considerably friendlier than Apple’s, the proof being that the source code of Android is open source. As a result, developers are allowed to gain a better understanding of the environment their games will run in, and optimize them accordingly.
Another great advantage of this is the fact that developers can have easier access to the device’s hardware, such as the camera, GPS or gyroscope, allowing for a far greater gaming experience. While this is also available in iOS, Android developers can take things further and add more complex functionality, targeting rooted phones. In case you’re not familiar with what this means, a rooted phone is a phone that is unlocked so the user has full access to the operating system, including the core files.
Apple only has one terminal – the iPhone, while there are countless devices that run Android. As a result, designing a game for the iPhone means that anyone with an iPhone can install that game, but what if you want to target a specific segment of users? On Android, this is possible because of the numerous devices that run android. For example, a game that targets heavy texters can be configured to run only on phones that have a physical QWERTY keyboard, which is specific to this segment of users. This is just an example, but you get the idea.
More powerful hardware
While Apple’s most powerful phone of the moment, the iPhone 5S, packs a dual core and 1GB of RAM to play around with, there are plenty of Android phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which pack octa-core processors (yes, 8 cores!) and 3GB of RAM. As you can easily guess, this means far more processing power, and thus far more possibilities. Just imagine the games you could play on your 5-year-old computer and the games you can play on your brand new one.
Android games come in a lot of flavors, and screen sizes vary from one another. This can also be a major decision factor for game developers, especially those that are creating games that require complex controls – you can’t expect a game to be fun to play if the controls take more than half the screen. Let’s use the same devices for comparison – Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs. iPhone 5S: we’re talking about a 5.7-inches screen versus a 4-inches screen. On which device do you think games will look better?
As you can see, there are quite a lot of reasons for game developers to look to Android as their platform of choice. This doesn’t mean that iOS is not a powerful platform as well, because it is; it just means that Android is a lot more flexible and permissive – two features that game developers usually love.
This is the guest post by Michael Clark and Train Games 365!