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[Gamesbriefers] Should you lead on iOS or Android?

By on April 15, 2013
CC image by Anthony Kelly
CC image by Anthony Kelly

Question:

If you were starting development on a brand new tablet/mobile game for a new studio, would you lead on iOS or Android and why?


Answers:

harry holmwood

Harry Holmwood
CEO of Marvelous AQL Europe

In our case (we have just started on exactly that), I think the right decision is to be entirely platform agnostic. There are enough great cross-platform development frameworks out there that it’s an easy path to take, fortunately.

The market is changing so rapidly that, over the development cycle of all but the smallest games, the economics of a platform, and a business model can change significantly. It therefore seems sensible to try to retain as much flexibility as possible.

Although we still expect iOS to be the better monetizing platform, the ease of iteration on Android means we’re likely to test launch with that first while we work on monetization and retention tweaks.

In terms of development, we test each build across a variety of Android and iOS devices so we don’t end up caught out at a late stage. The cross-platform part is easy (we’re using Unity) – what’s much harder is designing to different screen sizes – they’re now more of a continuum from 2.8 to 11 inches, rather than very clearly defined ‘small screen’ or ‘big screen’ devices.

On the flip side, if we were launching a premium app, we’d lead on iOS, because the iteration is less relevant, and there’s way more money to be made.


Ben Cousins1Ben Cousins Head of European Game Studios at DeNA

iOS. Working on high-end games, we just see the fastest pathway to a good performing game on devices with large userbases on iOS.


Stuart DredgeStuart Dredge Journalist at The Guardian

I might still lead on iOS (*non-developer so my opinion is worth shit face*) but I’d likely use Unity to make the later port to Android less of a ballache.


CharlesChapmanCharles Chapman
Director and Owner at First Touch Games

We still build our own tech, and we’re yet to release anything on Android, so iOS for us. We will release something on Android this year though.

However, if we were a new studio, we’d probably use Unity or Marmalade, and leave platform decisions open for a while. iOS would likely be the primary target, though for a new small dev there are probably more opportunities on other platforms to make a name for yourself, and get established.


eric seufertEric Seufert
Head of Marketing and Acquisition at Grey Area

iOS, unless developing a game that could leverage the advantages of Android in Asia. The money in Western Europe and North America is on iOS, and the Asian markets are so fragmented that existing relationships and deep geographic expertise are needed for a game to succeed.


Melissa Clark-ReynoldsMelissa Clark-Reynolds Founder of Minimonos

We just put our money down in iOS – our market (primarily under 13) are fairly split across iOS and the Kindle Fire. We looked at Unity and instead decided on Cocos2d. Much less trouble, and we are a 2D shop at this point anyway.

We launched MonkeyMe just under a week ago – It is doing very respectably in UK, Ireland and NZ in Kids and Family and launched into top 1000 in 18 countries. The marketing gets turned on this weekend, so we are hoping for more!


Ella-RomanosElla Romanos Founder of Remode

Our aim with any game is to reach as many users as possible, and with so many tools available now that let you go cross-platform easily, we always look to release on as many platforms as we can, as soon as we can.  Some monetise better than others, but with free to play games it’s also about getting as many people as possible playing your game at the beginning.


andy payneAndy Payne MD of Mastertronic

We use cross platform dev tools but focus on iOS as lead. Having come away from the good old days of Java dev for mobiles with my shirt still on, the plethora of screen sizes nowadays  and slight differences in the Android space is upping the cost of QA. But we, like everyone else, want to get to as many players as possible. But if it was easy everyone would do it.


Mark SorrellMark Sorrell Development director at Hide & Seek

Well our Kickstarter project Tiny Games is iOS only for now, I suppose my answer is pretty clear.

We are a small studio and development time is precious and we have a somewhat niche product, so iOS is a pretty obvious fit for that. I can certainly see the sense in the exact opposite approach though. If I were making a more mainstream title, I’d certainly make an argument for testing/initial release on Android. A sort of OS level Scandinavia, perhaps.


Will LutonWill Luton Free-to-play and mobile games consultant

iOS. Build in a way that all platforms can be given love (use Unity).


Melissa Clark-ReynoldsMelissa Clark-Reynolds Founder of Minimonos

Because we are contrary… a bit more about cocos2d.  12/50 Pocketgamer top 50 use it.  Includes Disney Mobile, GREE, Konami, Zynga, Wooga, Gamevil and DeNA, with Diamond Dash, City of Wonder, Zenonia 5 and Matching with Friends.


Teut WeidemannTeut Weidemann Online Specialist at Ubisoft

Just for Risk Management you need to go iOS first. Its the easiest platform, less screen sizes, less hassle with payment, less diversity in hardware. THEN you can go Android much easier.


tadhg kellyTadhg Kelly Creative Director at Jawfish Games

The correct answer is clearly Windows Phone 8.


Eric-Hautemont1Eric Hautemont CEO of Days of Wonder

iOS, partly out of habit, partly because that’s where the most $ are right now for us (on an absolute basis; not on a per capita one).

We use Cocos2d-x, and are super happy with the performance (dramatically faster than CoreAnimation).

The biggest issue for us on Android is adapting the code to handle variable screen sizes (esp. screen ratios). Still puzzled why hardware manufacturers spend so much time and effort focusing on “features” (random screen form factors) that make it a pain in the a.. to deliver games on their device while doing strictly nothing for gamers, at least not of the board gaming kind <gr…>

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  • http://twitter.com/Athanateus Oscar Clark

    I ran out of time to respond to this (sorry guys) I would start with the database. I know that’s a cop out (to an extent) but the OS level is the lesser issue. How the game connects to the cloud will define how I can scale the experience. I need data on how people play and to use that data to make a better game – not just to design it better, but to allow the users experiences to affect the play of others. The decision to go iOS or Android is largely a personal preference, but I would argue that Android makes the most sense as the market place actually rewards you for making a highly polished game. Games can get discovered on their merrits more easily on Android because of the way the trending graph works. The audience also is more demanding if you want to monetise them effectively (but you can make money if you design your F2P model well – including the purchase flow). If however you have any doubts about your ability to deliver the right product first time, perhaps iOS may make more sense. Its a little more tollerant to early mistakes.

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