One of the main selling points of the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch is the vast app ecosystem that is accessible with those devices. Almost all popular games in particular are first released on the App Store for iOS, and then might be followed up with an Android port in the ensuing months or years.
It might seem unusual that game developers flock to iOS before Android, considering that the latter controls at least 70 percent of mobile operating system market share. But, as Ryan Rigney for Wired reports, there are numerous reasons as to why game creators prefer iOS over Android. We take a look at five inside.
- Higher Sales on iOS: Game publishers most often see higher sales on iOS over Android, making it both more practical and profitable for developers to release their games for iPhone, iPad or iPod touch first. Extraterrestrial game Waking Mars co-creator David Kalina, for instance, notes that his game has sold over 140,000 units on iOS, but fewer than 5,000 on Android.
- Android Piracy Issues: A large dilemma that plagues Android and Google Play is the rampant occurrence of app piracy, with some developers reporting piracy rates as high as 83 percent. iOS too is affected by piracy, but not on such a widespread scale. Moreover, the recent shutdown of Installous has more than likely contributed to a notable decline in iOS app piracy.
- Android Fragmentation: While there are only a few dozen different iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models and generations, there are thousands of Android-powered smartphones and tablets on the market. The Android app Open Signal was found to be installed on close to 4,000 devices. To support all of these devices becomes an issue for developers, so many stick with iOS as a more convenient option.
- Lack of Time: For some developers, they simply do not have enough time to spend on developing games for both iOS and Android. Due to the aforementioned higher sales and lesser fragmentation that iOS delivers, developers will often stick with the Apple platform as their mobile operating system of choice. Android has potential, however, and some developers do eventually turn to the platform in time.
- Lack of Marketing: While large publishers such as EA Mobile, Gameloft and Rovio have no problem with releasing games for iOS and Android simultaneously, since they are almost guaranteed to garner high sales, it is much more difficult for an independent developer to market their games for both platforms at once. It’s hard enough to get recognition for new game on the App Store itself, so many developers like to take a concerted effort on one platform first.