It’s an on-going argument, with Apple fans on one side, pitted against Android fans on the other. Which system is the best? Apple has always been about elegance and ease of use, while Android touts its open source and flexibility. But which system is the best for gamers? There are other factors to consider, too.
Different games, different systems and different visions
Both systems have a lot of different games available. The Apple App Store has about 900,000 apps right now, many of those being games. The Google Play Store has been catching up fast, with around 750,000 at this point. It looks likely that Google will catch up, or even surpass, Apple in terms of numbers of games and apps available. But does that tell the real story? Many apps and games are released first on iOS, and then the developers take their time (months or more) before bringing the same game out on Android. That means that some of the hottest titles out there simply aren’t available on Android for some period of time.
While there are different reasons this tends to happen, a big one is the hardware situation. iOS is available only on Apple devices and both developers and customers know they can count on high quality and consistency. Consistent hardware and system software mean that it is easy for developers to create a game for iOS and be confident in what the end users will experience.
On the Android side, there are many different types of device hardware out there, and many customers with different versions of the OS. In addition, some companies have modified the basic Android OS to have their own slightly different version. This adds up to a large number of somewhat different platforms that developers have to support for an Android product. It’s virtually impossible to test everything, so often there are bugs or speed issues on one device or another, leading to necessary fixes.
Google’s powerful open source system “Android”
Some game designers appreciate the open source system, powerful hardware, and flexibility of Android. These people don’t like the rigidity of the standardized iOS hardware and operating system. On the other side of the fence, many developers say that iOS standardization lets them focus on their core business – creating a great app, rather than spending time testing and fixing for a multitude of different devices.
Apple certainly seems to be where the money goes, and that’s another reason some developers favor that platform. A surprising 76% of total app revenue goes to the Apple side. Of the remaining 24%, the majority goes to Google, with a small amount to other operating systems. Some people think this is because Apple users are just more ready spend money. There’s also an issue of piracy. On an iPhone or iPad, it is impossible to load a pirated game without jail-breaking the device and voiding the warranty. Most people would rather pay a small amount for a game than take that risk.
On the Android side, it is easy for users to side load a pirated version of software, and that can take a huge bite out of the sales, as people choose the free stolen version over the legal paid version. One developer spent 18 months on a game, and was upset to see that on its first day of release on Android, 200 people bought the real version for a modest $0.99, while 35,000 people downloaded pirated copies. That is quite an incentive for developers to work with Apple. Which operating system is your favorite and why?