Android vs. Apple: What to Consider When Developing Mobile Games By James Tredwell on October 22, 2019 In 1996, Chex made a surprising announcement. Inspired by a classic video game called Doom, the cereal company launched its own video game called Chex Quest. Any doubts about Chex’s bold move were quickly resolved when sales climbed by 248%. Today, companies and gaming studios alike aim to replicate Chex’s success. According to Pew Research, more than 5 billion people around the world have smartphones, presenting companies with an unprecedented opportunity to supply entertaining mobile games. One of the first decisions, game developers must make is what platform and methodology to prioritize. Four key considerations include: Strategic advergaming Evaluating the pool of potential users Marketing in the app store Preventing and resolving mobile gaming bugs You can use this article to learn more about the benefits that make open-source Android development a clear choice for mobile game development. Develop a Strategic Plan for Advergaming Today, companies are investing more in advertising campaigns that are less effective. In fact, ad fatigue has been named the “silent killer of ad performance.” Customers are so inundated by ads that they are simply learning to tune them out. Mobile games provide a clever solution to this persistent challenge. In advergaming, ads are transformed into mobile games that expose players to a company’s messages in a highly engaging format. Games earn users’ sustained attention by deploying compelling levels, point systems, and opportunities to engage with in-game community features. The numerous benefits include increased brand awareness and long-term ROI. For example, in 2015, Chipotle released an arcade-inspired game called “The Scarecrow.” In addition to supplying addictive gameplay, the app directed users back to Chipotle by allowing players to unlock coupons for meals. In the age of ad fatigue, advergaming shows real promise. It’s even more impactful when your business targets the broadest possible base of users. Evaluate the Pool of Potential Users Apple made headlines earlier this year when the company announced that 1.4 billion users rely on iOS smartphones. As impressive as that might seem, Android surpassed 2 billion monthly users back in 2017. Android’s appeal lies in the wide variety of devices that support it. iOS smartphones are often viewed as luxury products that come at a high cost. By comparison, competition between companies that produce Android devices drives down prices without sacrificing quality. Additionally, Digital Trends notes that Android “has been deliberately optimized to run on low-end hardware.” This means your mobile game will run just as well on a budget-friendly Android smartphone as it would on a more sophisticated one. Android provides more options at a wider variety of price points. As a result, it’s managed to capture a larger percentage of the market. If you want to build gaming apps for the widest possible cross-section of users, you should prioritize developing for Android. Marketing Mobile Games in App Stores In a crowded marketplace, mobile game developers face the same core challenge: How to convince users to give their mobile games a shot? In Apple’s app store, users have the opportunity to peruse user reviews, game descriptions, and video trailers to evaluate mobile games before downloading them. Android users can take their research a step farther. In 2017, Google launched a new feature called “playables” that allows developers to upload an interactive demo to the app store. This allows Android users to explore how a game’s functionalities feel, an important factor that impacts user satisfaction. By allowing Android users to test gameplay, Google helps game developers earn more qualified downloads. When users download a game they already enjoy, mobile games cultivate a more engaged following. Businesses should invest in resources that help them understand what type of marketing their clients would best respond to in the app store amongst the hundreds of other gaming apps. Reducing and Resolving Bugs in Mobile Gaming Even the best mobile games encounter bugs that can frustrate users. Open source methodology allows game developers to receive feedback on their code, reducing the likelihood of launching a buggy game and helping developers fix bugs faster. Open source methodology was famously summarized by Linux creator Linus Torvald, who said, “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” In other words, when publicly shared code receives feedback, developers are more likely to resolve bugs before they negatively impact a mobile game’s success. Open source methodology also naturally complements Android development. “Android may not be fully open source, but the example is still a perfect illustration of what’s known as ‘Linus’ Law,” writes PC World. In addition to publicly sharing code for their mobile games, developers can rely on countless lines of open source code that have already been thoroughly vetted and iterated upon. This means open-source games run more smoothly, supporting happier users. Open-Source Android Development Supports Successful Mobile Games As mobile games gain importance for marketing and advertising, game developers have to think strategically to achieve their goals. iPhone users will continue to make up a significant portion of any business’s target audience, and game developers must consider this when choosing their methodology and platform of focus. However, research suggests that game developers would be remiss to ignore the evidence that Android has captured an even greater market share. Finally, open-source methodology dovetails perfectly with Android game development, providing reliable games users will crave. Emily Clark leads app development and marketing topics for The Manifest, a business news and how-to resource based in Washington, D.C.