Though we're constantly buffeted by stories about new Android-powered game consoles and the continued growth of the Google Play Store, the fact still stands: An Android port seems to remain a footnote in development process, an afterthought, a thing that has to be done as opposed to the thing to do. Even today, you'd be hard-pressed to find a game that's exclusive to the Linux-based platform, or a developer willing to profess an undying affection for "Android. People might make Android games, but they don't seem like it.
It's a jungle out there
When Apple launched its App Store in 2008, it changed the playing field for mobile games and made them more accessible to people who wouldn't be caught dead buying a dedicated handheld like a Nintendo DS or a Sony Playstation Portable. Success stories began rolling in. Angry Birds became a global phenomenon, Rovio Games a national hero. Draw Something drew creator OMGpop away from the brink of bankruptcy and into a $180 million buyout offer--all within seven weeks. The message was clear: The right application can do more than pay your bills; it can make you a rock star.
But while Apple might have been the one to get the ball rolling, Google was not far behind. The Google Play Store has matured since Android first launched, and many of the apps found in the App Store can also be found in Google's digital store. Android also has a higher market share than iOS, making it the most used mobile operating system worldwide. For all intents and purposes, the Google Play Store should be the ideal environment for any developer, a digital gold mine ready for the harvest.
But is it really the Shangri-La that it has been advertised as?
Chris Pruett certainly thinks so. Chris is a part of Robot Invader, a Silicon Valley-based game development studio with a fondness for 1950s monster movies and cutesy, action-based titles. Both Wind-up Knight and the company's newest game, Rise of the Blobs, have enjoyed consistently high praise from the press. Pruett says that the revenue garnered from Android users has beaten iOS sales figures by a solid two to one.
Quantity is definitely a factor here. Since it's release, Wind-up Knight has been downloaded 7 million times, and close to 5 million of those downloads, Pruett reports, were made by Android users. "In our case, our Android version makes significantly more than its iOS counterpart, despite both being exactly the same game and both receiving similar featuring from their respective platform holders."
Spacetime Studios, creators of the mobile MMO franchise Legends, had similar opinions. In an interview with TechHive, CEO Gary Gattis noted, "On a day-to-day basis, we actually make more from the Google Play Store than we do the Apple App store. That being said, the average revenue per iOS user is certainly higher, but we just have that many more Android users."
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