Mobile Games,Android is a great platform for enjoying games on, with the many great devices to play on, the great controllers available, and the sheer number of games that are available.
But even with so many games, if you compare to iOS, there are some notable omissions. Some games just never release on Android or are very delayed.
While buying an Android device means that you’re going to get some great games no matter how you shake it, you’re bound to miss out on some gems. So, why do so many games get delayed or just never arrive on Android?
Mobile Games,Android Versus iOS
Mobile Games,The first, and perhaps core reason to consider, is that testing on Android compared to iOS is a completely different situation due to the nature of the platform.
On iOS, a developer only has a small number of devices to worry about. Apple sells only a few variations of iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch at a time.
And these are all using very similar internal hardware, so compatibility is generally assured even if a developer doesn’t test on that specific device This isn’t necessarily true in practice,
as small differences can wreak havoc, but it’s far easier for developers to track down and test the problem.
Now compare this to Android’s wild west nature. Any manufacturer can make an Android-powered device since the operating system is open-source thanks to its Linux roots.
There are certain restrictions on devices that have Google Play Services, but still, there’s nothing stopping a fly-by-night manufacturer from making something that runs Android.
Which is why there are hundreds upon hundreds of Android devices, all with different processor architectures, graphics chips, RAM types, and whatnot.
What this means is that for sufficiently advanced programs like games, the odds that a game isn’t going to run properly on every single device.
And tracking down the devices that have issues can be difficult because it’s possible only that one user has a device with that specific hardware configuration.
Android Versus iOS
How bad is it? Publisher Animoca shared a photo of their Android testing lab back in 2012, showing a table full of different Android devices, out of the 400 or so they had at the time.
Now imagine the problems that have arisen since then. There are cheaper, no-name Android tablets and phones out there. Developers have more devices than ever to try and make sure their game’s myriad issues are resolved. While services like Amazon’s AWS Device Farm exist to help test on devices that developers don’t have, it’s still a lot of work.
For large developers that can throw money and massive testing armies at their games, it’s worth investing in the effort to try and reach the massive number of people that have Android devices.
But for smaller studios and many independent developers, it might not be worth it, instead of investing effort in developing further games versus the technical work to support Android.