Mobile Phone Game
By 1997, cell phones were everywhere, and PDA functions were being built into them. They had small LCD screens, similar in resolution and color to the displays of 1970s microcomputers like the Apple ][
. So Nokia decided to put a '70s computer gaming classic, Snake
, into one of their phones. Thus was born a new platform for video games.
The rise of camera phones a few years later greatly improved the hardware. Modern mobile phones have gaming horsepower equivalent to 5th or 6th generation consoles such as the Nintendo GameCube
, Sega Dreamcast
, PlayStation 2
, and Xbox
. The iPhone in particular, with its heavily developed "App Store", and its subsequent tablet-lovechild the iPad, has shown itself to be an actual gaming platform, as to a lesser extent (due in part to widely varying hardware) has Google's Android.
Most games start out on iOS. The reason for that is very simple. Apple has released a grand total of twenty-nine devices that can play games (12 iPhones, 6 iPods, 10 iPads and/or iPad Minis, and 1 iPad Pro
) since the debut of its touchscreen-controlled devices in 2007; that's an average of 3 devices per year. Android, in comparison, gets something like three thousand
new devices per year, all with different screen dimensions, screen resolutions, processors, memory and other hardware concerns... and since it came out in 2008, you can imagine how many permutations have piled up. It's like PC vs. Console
, but worse—way worse, actually, since PC manufacturers can alter the hardware but can't really mess with Windows. Android manufacturers can
: Android is open-source software
, and each phone company can (and does) make alterations to the OS as they see fit. The "Android OS" you experience on an HTC One may be very
different than that of a Motorola Moto X, or a Samsung Galaxy, or a Nexus 5 (just to name a few flagship phones). With this much fragmentation on Android's side, it's no wonder that iOS is, simply, easier to program for. There’s also the fact that iOS is more lucrative: its users spend about four times more money in the App Store than Android users do in Google Play. (Not only is it easier and less confusing, but Apple users tend to be rich—they have to be, since Apple hardware tends to be expensive.)
The flipside is that Android is way
less restrictive. To program an iOS game, you need to 1) buy a Mac, so that you can 2) download the free-but-Mac-exclusive program Xcode
, with which to 3) program your game. Then you need to 4) buy—yes,
—your "I'm allowed to put experimental software" licenses from Apple (either Development Profiles
or the Enterprise program
), which you 5) provision to your iOS devices' Keychains before you can 6) upload rough drafts of your game to them. Oh, and just for fun, 7) those licenses run out in a year, so you'll need to buy them again if you plan to keep updating your game post-launch. Android, in comparison, just requires you to 1) download Eclipse
, which is free on Mac and
PC; and then 2) press a certain button seven times in your phone's settings to enable "developer mode", allowing you to 3) upload rough drafts of your game. (Android also allows sideloading
, so these can be from Google Play, Humble Bundles, the Amazon Appstore or other sources.) The first money that changes hands is when someone pays you for/in your game.
Android also has a much
bigger hold on the developing world, due to its open-source nature and cheaper pricing. (Sometimes ridiculously cheaper: while Apple users are spending $650 or more on the iPhone 6, Android users can get their hands on a used Nexus 4—with, as one satirist pointed out, almost identical features
—for $250, or a Moto G with slightly inferior hardware
.) Google is consciously exploiting this fact with its new Android One program, rolling out cheap devices in the developing world and seizing a market Apple hasn't touched—a market Apple cannot
touch, unless they change their policies drastically. Apple exploits the Cult Classic
mentality, so they're unlikely to go out of business any time soon—in affluent places like America, Japan and most of Europe, iPhones have the lead—but the ratio of iPhone users to Android users worldwide
is rather more likely to swing in Google's favor than Apple's.