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Android vs iOS Game Myths
by Gregg Tavares on 06/19/13 12:41:00 pm   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

I was hoping Chris Pruett would post a version of his talk, "Fact and Fiction: Lessons From Wind-Up Knight and Rise Of The Blobs" but he has not done so yet. The talk is available on the GDC Vault so if you attended GDC you can watch it there. It's only 23 minutes.

In it he attempted to break some common myths about iOS vs Android games. Of course this is just his experience but he made the point that most of the myths of iOS vs Android are not backed up by any data so he brought all his data.

I'm kind of hoping if I post this he'll feel compelled to post a version of his talk in his own words instead of mine. Hey Chris, Post your talk! In the meantime here's my summary of his talk

Chris said when we started his company, Robot Invader, he read everything he could about mobile development and all the collected wisdom. In fall 2011 they released Wind-up Knight, and in 2013 they released Rise of the Blobs. He read a lot of advice but none of them were backed up with data. So here's his data.

Myth #1: You should develop for iOS and maybe if it does really well on iOS you should consider porting to Android

The theory being that iOS is where you make all your money and if it does really well you might be able to make a few extra bucks on an Android port.

Their experience was, Wind-up Knight is highly rated on all platforms they are on. So first off, this applies only to highly rated games. If your game is not highly rated maybe this won't fit. Second they decided to ship on Android first to do experiments, make sure they'd addressed user complaints before they ship on iOS. Also based on the advice from the net they thought iOS players are more likely to buy a paid game so they shipped free-to-play on Android but $0.99 on iOS.

What happened was they shipped in November 2011 on Android and it did amazingly well. They were featured by Google which was really awesome. They fixed a few issues and shipped the iOS version 1 month later. They were super lucky there too as they were featured by Apple. Not only that they were featured multiple times by both companies but on iOS they were featured during the Christmas Holiday season when Apple goes on vacation meaning their featured status says up for 2 weeks.

Looking at their data you can see as a paid app on iOS it didn't do well, even being featured. They made if free in February for a Free App a Day promotion and got over a million downloads but after that grown on iOS was never close to growth on Android. At the time of the talk they had 8 million players the vast majority on Android.

So what could they learn from that? Well one, they probably can't treat Android as a test platform to prep for iOS. On the other hand the apps were treated differently, one launched as free to play, the other has paid, so they couldn't really compare them.

On their second app, Rise of the Blobs, they did a simultaneous launch. They made it free-to-play on both platforms with in app purchases and it was highly rated on both platforms. On top of that, for the iOS version only they spent around $100k in advertising. The app was featured on both the Google Play store and the iOS App store for the same duration

The result: They still did way better on Android in terms of user install numbers.

So in their opinion Myth #1 is is busted. It might have been true at one point but it's not true today.

Myth #2: You should translate your game to as many languages as possible.

Wind-up Knight shipped with English and Japanese only and here's how it did

The majority of players were from the USA, Japan, and China and as for revenue almost all of it came from the USA and Japan. After Japan the next biggest was the UK and it was 4%

So, they thought maybe that was because they only localized for Japan as that's the only other country they made any good money from and if they localized to more languages they'd do way better in other countries.

So for Rise of the Blobs they localized to 7 languages and here's the result

It's almost the same as it was before. A few counties came on. One thing to notice is they localized for Korean and yet Korea isn't even on the chart.

Looking at revenue it was still the same as before. All the money came from Japan and the USA. No other country accounted for more than 4%

So, from their POV this myth is busted. Apparently you only need to localize to Japanese. The other languages don't matter.

Myth #3: iOS users spend more money than Android users

There could be many reasons for this. iOS is more expensive so those users have more money. Or maybe because you have to put your credit card into the iOS App Store it's easier to buy. Or maybe because there are extremely cheap Android phones those people don't have money to spend. These all reasons seem to make intuitive sense.

Looking at their iOS Chart ranking they had the same experience they've seen several other developers have which is that while they were featured their rank stayed high but as soon as it stopped being featured the ranking fell off a cliff. They feel like paid apps never did well on Android and their era on iOS may also be over. Once you fall off the ranking you're done unless you can spend $$$$$$ to bring it back up. The point here is that paid apps didn't make money on iOS so that's not a way to get more revenue vs Android.

People believe that iOS users will still spend more than Android users if the app is free-to-play with in app purchases but that's not what they found.

The rates are basically the same for both platforms. Behavior of users on both platforms for the same game is the same. Clearly since they have more users on Android their making more money on Android.

Myth busted

Myth #4: iPad user behavior is different from other users

Trying to figure out if this myth is true they looked at session length. For Rise of the Blobs iOS users play about twice as long as Android users. Not just iPad users but all iOS users.

For Wind-up Knight iOS users play almost 3x Android users

Even stranger, when it was a paid app iOS users played for an AVERAGE of hour per session.

That's AVERAGE session! WTF! He thought maybe that's because a lot of iOS users were on iPad but that's not the case

iPhone users play longer than iPad users. So, I guess the Myth, that iPad users play different, is true but not in the way most people think.

Myth #5: Android fragmentation is a nightmare

They develop in Unity3D and had almost zero problems. Of 1970 devices they only had trouble with 3 devices. 2 of which were a market issue they couldn't work around but that were solved by a Google Play update so they only had to make a special workaround for 1 device that had a GPU driver issue.

So in their opinion this Myth is busted.

But, they did want to mention that it's more a of a pain to support Android users because of the way the markets are set up. On iOS if you want a refund you talk to Apple. On Android if you want a refund you talk to the developer. Over their entire life so far they've had 316 support requests from iOS and 4170 Android requests. Things like "my kid bought $300 of stuff in your game and I didn't know there was a parental lock built into the phone".

Myth #6: Mobile users don't want hard games

They were told their games would fail because they are hard.

They don't believe this is true. They have super fans that have cleared their games and they post screenshots and become their biggest promoters.

They're not saying a more casual game won't get more users. Just that there is a market for hard games.

So that's my summary of Chris's talk.

My 2 cents:

I think #5, fragmentation, might have been a much bigger problem 3+ years ago. At that time there were devices with single touch, devices with a trackball, devices with keyboards, etc... Now pretty much all devices are a single multi-touch screen with no extras. On top of that, at least for Rise of the Blobs, it's a 1 finger game and it doesn't matter where you put your finger. That would seem to have at least a minor influence. Wind-up Knight is a 2 button game. I'm only guessing that games with virtual joypads might have more issues but then I have no idea since I haven't made a game.

The fact that iOS users are playing 2-3x more than Android players suggests a place for more data. Do they actually play different or is there a bug in the tracking? Android's are multi-tasking so maybe users switch in and out of a game and something that looks like 2 sessions is actually 1? Does Chris's metrics merge sessions that are under a say 15 minutes apart? On other hand, if iOS users do play more you'd expect them to spend more on the types of games that have consumables since more play equals consuming more consumables so YMMV.

I'm sure you might have opinions on this as well. I think rather than argue about it it's just good to see this counter example to the common wisdom. Maybe if you're getting different results you're not doing something that Robot Invader is and you could do much better if you were or visa-versa, maybe if they were doing something similar to you they'd get results similar to yours.

PS: This article was originally posted at http://games.greggman.com/game/android-vs-ios-game-myths/.


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Comments


Carl Chavez
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Thanks for this informative article. I think I'll watch the video of the full talk now...

Chris Pruett
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Thanks for writing this up, Gregg.

For the record, the metrics recording on both iOS and Android was done with Google Analytics. My expectation would be that Google does the right thing on both platforms with respect to session length calculation, but I can't really prove it. So one possible explanation of the huge iOS advantage over Android in session length is some tracking rule inconsistency / bug. However, even in that case the paid iOS session length and f2p iOS session lengths should be comparable, and are quite different, which is fascinating.

Baback Moussavi
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Very, very nice article. It definitely changed my perspective on how I viewed mobile platforms. I believed a lot of these myths, but realize that I was clinging on to 2-3+ year old beliefs.

I was about to call out myth #3 until I did some more calculations and I want to share it with you folks. At first, I thought that Apple was still the clear winner when it came to revenue, especially since the numbers above suggest that the conversion rate with Apple products, 0.4%, is more than double that of Android, 0.18%.

My guess is that, in this example, Android has a much higher number of unique players, which winds up deflating their conversion numbers. Now, I'm merely a lowly artist, so forgive me if my numbers are off here. I'll start off by breaking down the number of unique players on Apple and Android for both Wind up Knight and Rise of the Blobs.

Wind up Knight:
7,656,892 (total users) x 29% (Apple's cut of the user base) = 2,220,499 unique users on Apple devices
7,656,892 (total users) x 71% (Android's cut of the user base) = 5,436,393 unique users on Android devices

Rise of the Blobs:
2,977,187 (total users) x 23% (Apple's cut of the user base) = 684,753 unique users on Apple devices
2,977,187 (total users) x 77% (Android's cut of the user base) = 2,292,434 unique users on Android devices

Now, assuming that each user only invested $1 towards an in-app purchase for the life of the game with these numbers, you would get dollar values like the ones you see below. Keep in mind the percentages were taken from the conversion rate slide above in the article:

Apple:
2,220,499 users x .004 = $8,882 <- Wind up Knight
684,753 users x .004 = $2,739 <- Rise of the Blobs
Total earned for both titles = $11,621

Android:
5,436,393 users x .0018 = $9,786 <- Wind up Knight
2,292,434 users x .0018 = $4,126 <- Rise of the Blobs
Total earned for both titles = $13,912

So, in reality, the folks at Robot Invader are actually making more money on Android than Apple with the data they've provided.

Very useful information. Thanks again, Gregg and Chris!

Terrance Mok
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The $1 assumption for both platforms makes a big difference. If one system's conversion is more or less than the other it completely changes the revenue. We already know that Apple's conversion rate on this one sample is more than double Android's conversion rate so it's not hard to imagine there could be difference in the actual dollar amount per conversion as well.

Curtiss Murphy
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The 0.4 and 0.18 %'s listed are the DELTA's between the 2 platforms. Using industry standards, they could be in the range of 1-5% for either platform, but the difference between the two is very low.

Did they mention their actual conversion rate, in the talk?

Chris Pruett
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As Curtiss points out, those values are DELTAS between the two platforms for each of our games. On the left side is the delta for Wind-up Knight (Android has a 0.18% conversion rate advantage) and on the right is the delta for Rise of the Blobs (iOS has a 0.4% conversion rate advantage).

I didn't give our actual conversion rates in the talk (can't give away ALL the secrets!), but if we pretend that they are, say, 5%, you can see that on Android WUK would be about 5.18% and iOS would be 5%. If we apply the same made-up 5% to Rise of the Blobs, iOS would be 5.4% and Android would be 5%. These are not very huge differences, and they don't fall entirely on one side or the other.

The point here was that the idea that iOS users spend more across the board is, for us, a myth. We see only very tiny differences between spending rates on the two platforms.

Sorry for the confusion--that wasn't the best slide in the deck.

Walt French
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Hmmm, I still don't quite get how BOTH iOS and Android can be above some average conversion rate, unless huge numbers of WP users are bringing down the average (heh). So, “delta” over what?

Anyway, so there's some rate that is roughly the same, a bit higher on Android—that was your intent, right? And even if there are an equal percentage—I'll go with your 5%—converting Android —> iOS, why, then 3X the number of users are converting over.

That's really quite amazing, when you think about it. Of all the people who LIKE the game, enough to stay with it, a large number move from Android to iOS. That ought to be understood: is it driven by Japanese or Chinese users, who only recently had iOS available on the biggest carriers? Or is it also happening in the US, as first-time Android buyers upgrade and switch?

There's certainly the suggestion consistent with the engagement data, saying that your best customers—fewest complaints, highest usage and ongoing usage—will be on iOS. That's rather contrary to the overall tone of the article, though.

Baback Moussavi
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Ah, I see. My mistake, then. I clearly misunderstood the slide. Good to know this info regardless. Thanks for all the knowledge, Chris!

Micah Betts
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The .18% and .4% stats are the conversion rate difference between the 2 GAMES, not platforms. He actually doesn't state which is higher or lower, or even what the conversion rate is (I think)

Chris Pruett
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Micah,

No, those are deltas between platforms, per game. I tried to size the logos differently to show which platform had the advantage. On WUK it's Android, on Rise of the Blobs it's iOS.

Dann Marais
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Hi All!
I have been following the articles for the past 6 months - thank you to all that are contributing!

This is my first post and it is unknown waters to me... I'm not a developer or programmer, but an entrepreneur that love games and soon to be a first time "developer" - my game is outsourced to an app development company.

From a business point of view... if $100k+ was just for the marketing, then earning +-$14000 is very disconcerting and "does not make sense"

I noted that Chris Pruett later comment that if the conversion rate was lets pretend 5% then (if I'm correct) it does "sound & feel" a lot better...

Apple
2,220,499 users x .054 = $119 907 < Wind up Knight vs the $8882

I'm sure that will make you (us all) smile!

Ray Beez
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What happens to the bottom line in these numbers when you factor in the disproportionately higher number of customer support requests on android ? Time is money and dealing with customer support alters profitability to some degree.

Walt French
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“… assuming that each user only invested $1 towards an in-app purchase…”

You're asking the right questions, but as important as the question seems to you (and me), I think the information that you'd need to accurately answer it was intentionally excluded. I mean, the article is all about “myths” of differences between the platforms, and there seems to be a GREAT deal of 1-1 comparable data on the one game, but somehow one of the most important issues, that of actual monetization, goes missing.

What's most crazy is the data about per-session usage. No game, it seems to me, is the same when played for 53 minutes, as it is for 13. THAT'S engagement! How can the game, if built even half-way sensibly, not entice users to pay more for something they use 4X as much? And note, that was a median usage stat; it's not an average that's pulled down by lots of tire-kickers who try it for 3 minutes and decide it's not for them.

So take this piece as advocacy that you can do OK on Android, but don't think that it actually tells you how well-rewarded your efforts will be on Android vs iOS.

Muir Freeland
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The point about people "not wanting hard games" really hits home. I think this is something people need to get over; challenge is satisfying, and I think people are more capable than they're often given credit for.

Chris Pruett
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I should probably issue a caveat to this one, which is that people react very poorly across the board to perceived mismatches between difficulty and play style. Wind-up Knight was very well received as a very hard game because the challenge is very clear. On Rise of the Blobs, we did a poorer job of communicating the win state of the game in early versions and got a lot of highly negative feedback about the game being "too hard." It IS hard, but the real complaint there was that people misunderstood what they had to do to win. So you can turn users off with difficulty, but I think if the challenge is communicated well then even very casual folks will rise to it if they like the game.

Emppu Nurminen
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Naww, it's so sweet of you to ignore completely the visual appearance and how that affects between these two marketplaces. But nice try and all!

Chris Pruett
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I'm just reporting our results. Feel free to theorize as to why they are like that. The market places' visual style almost certainly affects purchases. But not in the way that is usually reported, at least not for us.

Emppu Nurminen
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...um, graphics affect already when the users decide do they download the game or not and I don't see any information that states that the mediocre appearance of Blobs had absolutely no affect between the difference of Android and iOS download rates. I mean sorry, you don't do graphics to make people buy the stuff in the game, you make the graphics to create the initial connection between player and the game right in the beginning.

Chris Pruett
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I'm sorry, I have no idea what you are talking about. We use the same promotional art on both platforms, but our download rates are very different.

Emppu Nurminen
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Exactly! How you can say that the graphics made no difference between the download rates of different marketplaces? I mean come on, in Android world, heck yeah, that bland style pops up, but on iOS? How can you state that the graphics doesn't affect the way people assume them to affect? Because it's most commonly stated that on iOS you not only need need the pixel-perfect graphics but actually unique style to brand the game. How you can say it doesn't work for you, when the graphics are bland and forgettable on iOS marketplace?

Curtiss Murphy
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Are you saying the games did better on Android because there was less 'quality' competition there? Odd perspective, but ... taking it at face value, would argue that the graphics quality in Wind-up Knights or Rise of the Blobs is merely 'on-par' with other high-quality iOS titles, making it just another gem among gems, with neither an advantage, nor disadvantage. And the argument would continue to say that taking his high-quality products over to Android, was like placing two shiny gold medallions, on a mound of trash.

If valid, one might conclude that if you're developing a high-quality product, you should absolutely target Android, rather than avoid it.

Chris Pruett
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So it /sounds/ like you are making the argument that iOS users have higher standards than Android users, and that explains our download discrepancy.

First, I haven't offered any claim as to why this discrepancy exists. Yours is certainly an interesting theory. I'm just showing the data.

That said, I think that if the reason had to do with quality, we'd see that reflected in the app user ratings. In fact, our iOS rating for Rise of the Blobs is slightly higher (4.5 stars) than on Google Play (where it is 4). So there doesn't seem to be any specific evidence to back the idea that we somehow didn't meet the quality requirements expected by iOS.

Now, a related argument that might be more convincing is that iOS is tougher because there's simply more competition. I'd readily believe that, though I don't have data to back it.

But like I said--I'm just supplying data from our two games. Please feel free to come up with your own theories about why our games have performed the way that they have.

Chris Melby
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@Michale Karzay,

I'm long time Apple user and I absolutely prefer Android. In some case points you're right, it is this B&W and there are some 'shallow' people out there that only buy thing based on how it looks; but this is not why I and other artists I know have been on Macs.

I never bought any of my Macs because of how they looked, but because of how they worked -- which for programs like Photoshop used to be night and day better -- and because for the longest time I was bound to them by my software -- which has always been a much bigger investment than the hardware. If you want, I can go into this?

Kelly Kleider
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"It's partly why the majority of digital artist own macs. "

-Citation Needed

Kelly Kleider
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@Michale
Clearly you love macs...

Stacey Kaminski
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@Michale Karzay - No, a citation is needed. Asking one's friends is a representative sample of exactly one thing: your friends. Just because your friends prefer macs and you entered in to the graphics industry at a time when Apple computers were preferable for artistic tasks does not mean that any of these things are still true for the vast majority. (Plus, if I asked myself and my artist friends, it's maybe 20% Mac users, 10% Linux and 70% PC, not counting people who use multiple systems. But I also know that what I just said isn't at all useful data.) Macs aren't at all better systems for viruses. In fact, as Apple gains wider adoption, virus writers rely more and more on people thinking that's true and not using antivirus software. The only reason is was ever true is because it was a small enough segment of the market that it was rarely worthwhile to target. It isn't that small anymore.
Shorter points: PCs don't take that long to start unless someone runs WAY too many programs at startup or is using an entirely outdated operating system. I use a Windows 7 machine that I built myself from parts. It doesn't crash. The few times it has locked up are almost certainly attributable to the fact that I almost never turn it off and don't always remember to reboot it -- after 3+ weeks without restarting computers will be unstable, and I can live with that. Adobe's software runs fine on PCs; I haven't had issues with it since sometime before CS1. Honestly, if I was looking at operating systems solely based on what art-related software I could use, I'd go with a Linux box for the plethora of native open-source software and keep something else on another system (or dual-boot if I had to) for the few things I can't replicate. I'd refute the points about screens, fonts, setup, and so on, but it doesn't seem like you care about the actual data over your own anecdotes anyway, so I'll save that for an issue you can investigate on your own. I'll pop one more in, though: customer service is rarely done with Microsoft (unless, like me, one has a custom-built system). You call whoever made the computer. That said, for someone who doesn't want to do their own tech support Apple may be preferable. But if Macs are as flawlessly stable as you've stated, why would you need to call them?

Emppu Nurminen
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@Curtiss: It's definitely a market advantage to make quality apps and games on Android, but here's the thing; 90% of apps look fugly on Android mobile and tablets that aren't the flagships of the companies. Like said, fragmentation isn't a problem...if you look it only from programming perspective. When you jump from iOS to Android, the fragmentation comes a real problem in visual perspective. Even the mentioned titles looks worse on my Android devices than on iOS devices. While yeah, you can have the crude and anti-aliased lines in assets, but compared to other devices, that seems more of sloppiness than intentional effect. Most of the time it is.

@Chris : Shallow? These shallow people would look the fugly apps and games and wonder "If these guys REALLY believe in their game, why they aren't putting more effort to it? Why I would have to put any effort to play them, if the developers don't think it's worth of it?". Because if it's really something you have worked for and really proud, why to screw up the whole thing in the very end by settling on mediocre presentation?

Michale said it well, people on iOS love eye-candy, and I don't see any bad about it. You can have your programming and game design, but it's not really user-friendly to demand so much from players to put their own effort to something you didn't want to put effort into. That's just common sense, not psychographical segregation of dividing people into "serious" and "shallow" gamers.

Chris Melby
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@Michale Karzay,

My preference for Android really comes down to choice and its diversity, which are there becasue it's open, which has pushed it ahead of iOS for so many areas that are important to me. Apple's restrictions inhibit options like integrated Wacom tech and support for applicaitons like TV Paint -- which is in open beta on Android. Everyting I liked about my Touch and iPad, I have on Android, but with more options. Android does not get in my way, where as iTunes being my iPad's only route eventually became a wall; and a quick note on iTunes, I still use it to immport and manage my music, which I then playback on my Mac and my Android phone.

I also prefer Android, because even though my tablets are newer than my phone, Google still supports every single one of them accros the board with their "optional" services. All of my Android devices are still relevent, even my phone running 2.3.6 -- and this OS is more capable than iOS 6...

On the computer side:

I've been 'buying' Macs since the System OS days and PCs since MSDos 5. I've been using Apple products since prior to the Macs at school, and PCs at home since DOS 2.2.

Here's a bit of irony though. The last virus I had on any of my computer -- well it was a worm, was on my Mac G3 333 runnning System 8. It was a Quicktime AutoStart worm. I have not had a virus/worm/trojan, etc.. since on any of my computers and I always maintain a custom PC along side my Mac portable/workstation.

I still prefer OS X over Windows, especially because of the shortcut keys, but I need to note that Win 7 Pro 64 is every bit as stable as OS X -- and it was more stable than OS X for a while, during the early days of the Intel switch; and one more tidbit on stablity, the 68k to PPC switch was cluster F*, as was the System OS to OS X switch early on.

The huge advantages Macs had over PCs -- esepcially in the nineties -- has pretty much dissolved and now both platforms are rock solid; and from my own stance both are equally secure.

Both platforms have their advantages and I can't live without either one at the moment; I do all of my 3D and gaming on my PC and the rest of my work on my Mac for now.

@Emppu Nurminen,

To put my comment about some people being shallow in context, it was in response to Michale's comment about why some digital artist buy Macs. So expensive workstations, not 99¢ apps.

I don't disagree with what you say bout judging an app on how it looks, sometimes that's all we have to go by.. But it's a cheap purchase, so no big loss if the app is crap.

Anyways, it's easy to fall into the mentaility that seesm to be the theme here, that there's no overlap of iOS and Android users and that we're different. I for one don't see it this way. I have both platforms and I can say that I'm not alone on this. iOS users are no different than Android users in most cases and going by the past few years, many iOS users have migrated to Android.

Matthew Burns
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An excellent and informative article Gregg! Thank you for posting it! I am going to watch the video today.

Michael Christatos
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I'm curious to see what method the companies used to translate their games. Was it planned from the start to support more than just English or did they hire someone after development to translate, and if so who?

I think a lot of games would consider translation if they knew the best or most affordable options.

Chris Pruett
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We planned for translation from day 1. It actually had fairly massive ramifications for how we went about building our UI, etc.

8-4, Ltd. did our Japanese translation, and I can't recommend them highly enough. Our success in Japan is in no small part thanks to their expert handling of our games.

For all of the other languages, we work with Asrec. And they are also really good--very fast, very high quality translation, and they understand games.

Kelly Kleider
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Thanks for being open about your experiences, Chris. I love that you did this.

We supported 12 languages last year with WiiU Giants sku. I thought my head was going to pop. Prior to Giants the most I had dealt with was 5.

Arly Rampen
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Thank you for this article, so much information.

Domorat Bakaga
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Alright, I had to made an account just to ask this - did the idea for this list came from this 2012 article by any chance? - http://portablegamingregion.com/features/articles/why-are-there-s
o-many-ios-game-exclusives/

I like your wording a lot better, but this article brings up so many identical and similar points that I find it hard to believe it's just a coincidence. Of course, there's nothing wrong with getting inspiration from someone else's work (we all do it in every industry branch), it's just that I'm curious.

Chris Pruett
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Domorat, this article is a write-up of my GDC lecture, which you can watch at the GDC Vault. Gregg's done an excellent job with it--he captured all of my points. The lecture itself was not based on the article you linked to (though that article does quote me in its argument, haha). In fact, my original idea for this lecture stemmed from an article by Dan Cook called "Hard Problems in Game Development," where he discusses oft-repeated "rules" of successful game development.

https://plus.google.com/105363132599081141035/posts/JKfEimoFJeo

I only had 25 minutes, and I wanted to talk data, so I chose to tackle a couple of oft-repeated myths that I felt I had data to critique.

That said, I don't think our results are particularly unique. There may not be a lot of people writing blogs about this stuff, but I suspect that many other developers have similar data.

Eric Finlay
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Sweet article. Definitely cool to see how the data has changed over the years. Hopefully game developers will listen and put good games on Android first :)

Jesse Hamburger
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Great article, I'll be interested to see how this holds up for us (assuming we're rated well!).
If you like, when we release our game I'll share some of our data and analysis with you. I tend to be a bit of a junky when it comes to this stuff and it's always fun to get an outside take on what we're seeing. We're planning on releasing for iOS, Android, and Kindle at minimum.

nick ATpainttehDOTcom
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these graphics are nice, but I would like more a similar analyze for sells(users here) that are below 7 digits numbers.
In my opinion if you pass 1 million numbers, you have crossed the border of indie studio. You are not indie anymore.
If someone can share similar analyze but for 20K or 100K sells(or such) that I would like to see, thank you very much!

nick ATpainttehDOTcom
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to add something more, I would like the analyze to be for non free game.

Kelly Kleider
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Success (or lack thereof) is not a benchmark of indie-ness. So any successful "indie" title is automatically not indie? That doesn't make any sense.

You have more fingers than they have people (assumes normal compliment of fingers).

I'm not trying to be jerky (maybe a little snarky :) ), they really are a small, independent studio.

Lars Krueger
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First of all, thanks to the author for providing us this well-narrated blog.

Besides all the metrics, the attempt to provide us an explanation on why Android seems to outperform IOS ones is lacking one simple aspect, imho:

A unique selling point ... in Quality!

What i´m referring to is, that at the time, WindUp Knight was released in Android Market it was certainly considered as one of the best looking and most pleasant games in its Genre, and maybe across whole Market as well.

While iOS-Users were on one hand used to get that kind of app quality quite every single day when they opened the AppStore. Hence, to aggregate some ground amount of (one-time?) paying players, the aforementioned circumstances appear to me somewhat "crueler" in order raise earnings, compared to (so-evil fragmented) Android ecosystem.

However, exceptional competitiveness on android market leveraged their momentum. That said, it sounds a little easier to cope with all that hurdles, in comparison to iOS.

Samer Abbas
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Awesome! Much thanks Gregg and Chris for all the info! A couple of points:

1. I wonder what would the outcome be if a highly rated game is released as a paid app on both platforms.

2. I find it hard to believe that zero spending on Google Play yielded more than $100k spending on iOS. I hope you can elaborate (what free marketing was done for GP, where were those 100k spent?)

Thanks,

Fernando Coelho
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Great article, thank you for sharing.

Walt French
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Yet another concern about monetization.

The first myth you try to debunk supposedly rests on the theory “that iOS is where you make all your money and if it does really well you might be able to make a few extra bucks on an Android port.”

Well, down the presentation you break out profits by region — as a side effect of localization, suggesting that profits are an important measure of what one does — but those profits are never brought to bear on the question of profits by platform, for many devs the more important challenge. (All the more so in that localization wasn't found to be a killer issue.)

I remember the Rovio folks talking up the long tail of ad-based revenues, but the story *I* hear of late from developers is that unless you get decent in-app purchases, you aren't making much money at all. That suggests that what you want is the sort of engagement that you present here as lopsided in favor of iOS; you're setting up another “myth” with this data suggesting, and not showing otherwise, that iOS users are where you'll get your revenues, while Android will give you mostly non-paying try-and-drop types.

Again, these are not MY arguments, they're just reasonable interpretations that you seem to go out of your way to weave around. How about it? How do these games' stories help guide developers how to prioritize and allocate efforts?


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