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iOS game development edges out Android in new GDC poll
iOS game development edges out Android in new GDC poll
February 20, 2014 | By GDC Staff

February 20, 2014 | By GDC Staff
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When it comes to smartphone game development, it's Apple's iOS that leads developer adoption, according to the second annual Game Developers Conference State of the Industry survey, conducted last month.

Ninety percent of over 1700 North American smartphone game developers polled said they're currently making games for iOS. That edges out Google's Android platform, for which 80 percent of respondents are currently making games. Those figures are virtually flat compared to last year.

While iOS and Android clearly dominate the category, smartphone game developers are also currently making games for Windows Phone (21 percent), BlackBerry (5 percent) and PlayStation Mobile (5 percent).

Among the more than 2600 game developers polled across all platforms in total, smartphone/tablet platforms were the second-most popular when it comes to games currently in development, narrowly beat out by the PC/Mac category.

Second screen development

One of the rising trends in game development is allowing the ability for customers to play and access one game through a variety of devices. That might mean a second-screen experience such as a companion app, or a Universal app that works on iPad and iPhone.

Forty-eight percent of the 2600 developers polled said they plan on making their game playable or accessible across multiple devices. Seventy-six percent of the people who are implementing cross-device compatibility said they would do it via a cross-buy/Universal app. Twenty-four percent are implementing second-screen compatibility, such as a companion app.

We'll have a few more interesting data points from the GDC State of the Industry Survey in the coming days. GDC will take place at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California during March 17-21, 2014.

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Comments


Bob Freeburg
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Don't understand why people continue to focus on iOS so much. Has a smaller marketshare than Android both in NA and abroad. Plus it is so over-saturated that the odds of anything being noticed in all the noise is very very slim anymore.

Brent Orford
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Well there's two reasons for that.

1: People who buy iOS devices have money, people who do not... do not.
2: The number of devices running Android software may be greater; but that doesn't mean the hardware is any good. Each device may have different screen dimensions and possibly derivative operating systems that the hardware manufacturer has customized to their liking. To get around certain patents Android doesn't contain features that Samsung ultimately will license and add to the OS for their devices for instance. Try tailoring your game experience to run the same on the 16k different Android devices out there. Its the same reason why console gaming is more popular than PC gaming - developers know the experience they're giving to consumers when the game runs on the same hardware it was developed and tested against.

The "time to get it right" is a much higher cost for much less ARPDAU on Android devices.

Chris Melby
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@Brent,

You honestly believe your own bull? Or are you just so invested in iOS, that you'll go out of your way to perpetuate lies and truthiness about Android?

Katy Smith
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For me, it's easier to focus on iOS first and then move to Android. iOS has better documentation, less fragmentation, and is generally easier to work with. Also, I find their billing easier to deal with than Android (as in, Apple takes care of everything, which is good and bad). I'm not anti-Android, but the platform is just more chaotic than iOS.

Brent Orford
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@Chris

Well I'm an analytics guy for a mobile game company... so yes, I believe my own bull. There's over 16,000 types of Android devices in the wild.

I should clarify my comment above where I said "that doesn't mean the hardware is any good" as I could see that being misconstrued as saying "all android hardware is bad."

That simply is not the case; it's just a lot harder with all the different derivations of hardware and Android OS versions to have your game run well on everything out there.

adam anthony
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according to my company's analytics, iOS users are far more likely to purchase apps/make in app purchases. Additionally, there are a lot of Android users who are using devices that are extremely outdated, and are nearly basic phones, not smart phones. This appears to be especially true in Europe, but I am unsure as to why.

Chris Melby
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@Brent,

It's hard to take you serious, when you make statements as black and white as your #1 reason.

Brent Orford
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Look man, I'm just trying to answer Bob's question in the clearest way possible. Yeah, it's an overgeneralization to say Android owners don't have money but when you're in the business of making money finding customers willing to spend to be entertained by your product is the point. I deal with large pools of users where statistics carry the weight. You have to put your dollars where the dollars are at to be had and the best place for that is iOS.

Let's say the development cost to support both platforms is the same (and its not due to fragmentation) so you develop for both. You can't get organic traffic to pay the bills from either platform at this point, there's just too many games out there to get noticed (*unless you're flappy bird.) You have to buy your users through an advertising platform. You do so via facebook, which lets you target specific platforms.

From there you see the users you've acquired are bringing in .10c ARPDAU's on iOS and I'll be generous and say .08c on Android. Do you continue spending to acquire users who will return 20% less for your money, or do you just focus on the platform with the highest returns. Now consider if you'd spend if Android users yielded something less, say .05c ARPDAUs. As a business, does it make sense to throw your dollars in after those users when the same dollars can be thrown in to get .10c ARPDAU's? I'd rather stay in business and to do that, I need the most bang for my buck.

From what I can find, there's over half a billion iOS devices sold as of mid-year last year (http://thenextweb.com/apple/2013/06/10/apple-announces-over-600m-
ios-devices-sold-to-date-over-90-of-users-on-the-latest-version/#
!wKjQx.) A paid install costs way more than $1 a user, so even if it were $1 - that's be over 600m to reach all possible devices, and ad's don't work that way - how many times have you seen the same ad. Basically your marketing spend can be used to yield higher value users for pretty much as much money as you ever want to throw at it. There may be more Android devices, but there's certainly *enough* iOS devices.

That's why people focus on iOS so much and that's a very legitimate answer to Bob's question. Yes, individual consumers who purchase Android devices may have money, but they statistically do not spend at the same rates as iOS device owners. If it makes you feel better... Android owners probably have more money than iOS owners because they aren't spending it on FTP games. ;)

Man it's so much easier to type that as a blanket statement.. but there you go.

Katy Smith
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I can echo what Adam and Brent have said from the experience with my games. For the F2P titles, iOS users tend to spend more than the android users. On the premium titles, there are more sales on iOS. Interestingly, there is also a better purchase to piracy ratio on iOS than Android.

Andy Lundell
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Of the developers only developing for one platform, I'd love to know why.

Curtis Turner - IceIYIaN
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Depends on what programming languages, frameworks, or engines you're using.

Andy Lundell
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That doesn't really answer the question though, does it?

Why did they choose languages, frameworks, or engines, that are platform locked like that?

SD Marlow
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I'd like to see a break-down by controller type (touch, gamepad, keyboard). Results don't mean much if most devs are working on clones of Angry Birds or Candy Crush.


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