iOS is a thriving platform for game developers
While smartphone gaming has always been a key element of the quintessential smartphone experience. Games like Angry Birds, Asphalt, Shadowgun and even Plants vs. Zombies have always stirred up quiet a bit of excitement in the smartphone gaming community, but nothing has brought this recreation to the forefront like PUBG Mobile and Fortnite. While games mostly remain platform agnostic, we’ve seen some titles launch as timed exclusives on iOS, coming to Android at a later period. We spoke to a few developers to understand what it was about iOS that was more attractive, and they provided some interesting insights.
One reason game developers find themselves flocking to iOS is the lack of fragmentation. Even though there are iOS devices with multiple screen sizes and resolutions, the underlying operating system is the same. This simplifies the creation process for any game in comparison to the Android counterpart. Rajendran Dandapani, Founder Jambav Studios, tells us that when it came to developing the company’s AR-based game RushARound, the iOS version of the game took far less time to get out the door. This, Dandapani says was thanks to the uniform implementation of ARKit which allowed his team to code once and have the game work on all of Apple’s mobile devices, regardless of the form factor. On Android, he says, the team took months longer making sure the AR features worked. Ease of getting their apps to over a billion devices is definitely a good enough reason for developers to be attracted to iOS, but that isn’t all.
Every developer who puts out an app, does so with the eventual goal of making money, whether it’s through in-app purchases or through the one-time purchase of the app itself. Speaking to us on the matter was Himanshu Manwani, Founder and co-owner of Xigma games, a two-man studio. The studio just released their third game on iOS called Bonfire: The Forsaken lands which is a paid title. In our conversation, Manwani reveals that despite the $3.99 price tag (Rs 299 in India), the game has sold close to triple-digit copies through the App Store. He beautifully leads us to the point that iOS users tend to be more generous with them spending on apps. He further drives the point home by telling us that the previous two games to come before Bonfire were paid as well, and the company made enough money to continue developing games. He concludes by saying that the company has already begun planning their fourth release.
The ease of development coupled with the fact that iOS consumers do tend to pay for apps and in-app purchases is a big draw for developers to make their games either completely exclusive or as timed exclusives for iOS. Developer benefits aside, games on iOS tend to offer a rather uniform quality of experiences along the larger gamut of iOS devices. When we also add to our consideration the fact that games like Asphalt 9 offered 60fps gameplay, way before the feature made it to the Android counterpart. While Apple’s newest SoC definitely has the CPU-GPU chops to push the frame rates high enough, the iPhones currently sport only 60Hz displays. For those craving even smoother gameplay, the iPad Pro sports the ProMotion Display, Apple’s fancy name for a 120Hz IPC LCD display, a feature that is yet to make its way to the more popular Android tablets. If rumours are anything to go by, Apple may be bumping up the refresh rate on the next generation of iPhones to 120Hz, which could make it a rather enviable gaming device.
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