Coffee Talk #312: Giving Up on Android Gaming (Almost)
Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, your body conveniently holding up until the last day of a conference, Sam Kennedy’s immediate plans for 1Up.com, or being unable to say no to tequila shots with legendary Japanese game designers, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.
As an avid Android user and a gamer, I’ve been greatly interested in learning more about Android game developer issues. As mosts of you know, Apple iOS is way, way ahead of Google Android in the games department. While I expect the quality of quantity of games in the Android Market to improve, I don’t think it will ever come close to iOS gaming. What I’ve learned from various Google panels and conversations with people that create games for Android and/or iOS has me ready to give up on Android gaming.
On the iOS platform, developers have to worry two screen sizes, three resolutions, and a relatively homogeneous CPU/GPU family. On Android, developers have to worry numerous screens sizes, numerous (and sometimes non-standard) resolutions, CPUs from different manufacturers, GPUs from different manufacturers, differences in accelerometer speeds, and more. From what I’ve learned in the last year, Android game developers just have a lot more to worry about than iOS game developers when it comes to crafting code. What often ends up happening is that Android games are coded for the lowest common denominator and the results aren’t as impressive as they could be.
Developers would love to take advantage of Android’s rapid growth and the open experience of the Android Market, but some feel that the coding challenges aren’t worth it. Google has done a great job at reaching out and trying to support game developers, but I’m not sure it’s enough. Some of the developers I spoke with said that it’s just too difficult.
Game Developers Conference 2011 left me down on the state of Android gaming. I’m almost ready to give up my dream of a robust Android gaming market that rivals iOS gaming, but one hope remains. That, however, is another story.