There was a time many years ago when Android was a land full of cheap mimics of the more popular mobile titles that were exclusive to iOS. Over the years, those same mobile developers are now building their games for both platforms. It looks like their love for iOS hasn’t subsided though.
As part of its State of the Industry report, GDC surveyed 1,700 North American smartphone game developers on their preference between iOS and Android. Ninety percent of those surveyed said they were making games for iOS, while a respectable 80 percent said they were making games for Android.
So, what about the other guys? The survey found that 21 percent of mobile developers were making games for Windows Phone while 5 percent were making game for BlackBerry devices. A relative newcomer to the mobile space – PlayStation Mobile – only has 5 percent of developers working on games for the platform as well.
The results show that there’s now a lot of overlap between development for iOS and Android. Most developers now feel that they have to release on both platforms to target the widest audience possible considering that Android is the largest mobile platform in existence.
While there’s no reason stated why iOS still has an edge over Android, we can make a couple of educated guesses. For starters, it’s still easier to develop games on iOS as you don’t have to worry about fragmentation nearly as much. Sure, over 60 percent of Android users now use Jelly Bean, but ignoring previous versions cuts out 36 percent of your potential audience.
Another possible reason is that the piracy rate on iOS is much lower than it is on Android. A report from SlashGear last year said the piracy rates for a single game on Android was at 95 percent. The same game on iOS had a 5 percent piracy rate. While you can argue it’s unfair to compare the piracy rates between platforms based on a single game, most developers aren’t going to be thinking about that when developing their next game. There’s still a preconception that iOS is the safer platform to release games and apps on even if it’s not the case for every game.
Despite all this, Android still has 80 percent of North American mobile developers making games for it. That’s nothing to sneeze at. As Google continues to mature the platform, more and more developers will likely start to move towards cross-platform development.
Image via iTunes