The great mobile gaming divide might not be hurting the industry, but the fact is that iOS and Android users do get to see the virtual world from a slightly different angle. According to the latest gaming report from Newzoo, mobile gaming is on track to rake in $99.6 billion in 2016. Moreover, by 2019, the experts expect the mobile sector to generate 46% of all global gaming revenue.
On a basic level, iOS and Android users have traditionally backed their platform. Now, the reality is that the vast majority of mobile games are available across the platforms. Angry Birds, the most popular mobile game of all time with 21 million active daily users, was a success because it was available for iOS and Android. However, if you look across the industry, there are some notable differences.
Talking a Different Language
From a technical perspective, iOS and Android apps are coded in different languages. Traditionally, Android apps were coded in Java and iOS apps in Objective-C. In more recent times, the open source Swift has been used for iOS. For end users, the difference in coding language won’t really be apparent, but it does mean that Android users can access Java-based content while iOS users can’t.
Aside from opening up a host of new gaming options for Android users, Java’s open source nature means that it’s easier for developers to make a game. Because of this, the Google Play has around 100,000 more apps than the Apple Store. Indeed, thanks to this more accessible coding platform and lower costs ($25 vs. $99), smaller developers have been able to create their own games.
This dynamic has led to a thriving indie gaming scene in the Android universe. Games like SuperHexagon and Gyro have all come from independent developers and, in turn, created a more diverse gaming ecosystem inside Google Play. Of course, what iOS might lack in terms of independent (sometimes clunky) games, it makes up for in high-end quality.
With stricter submission conditions, iOS as a gaming platform is often seen as better quality and, in some ways, more prestigious. Indeed, despite being smaller in size, the iOS store generates 75% more revenue than Google Play.
Avoiding a Natural Bias
Now, to combat the subtle difference between the two platforms, companies have often offered two download options on their site. If you look at the online casino industry, mobile apps have become big business in recent years. A 2013 report by Deloitte stated that almost 33% of UK bettors had used their mobile device. To accommodate these customers, operators would often offer iOS and Android apps.
However, as the industry is changing and players are demanding more flexibility, other solutions have come to the fore. mFortune, an operator providing bespoke mobile casino games, uses a text-and-download system. Instead of specifying that this game is iOS only or that promotion is for Android users, everything, including the free spins no deposit, is offered to all “mobile” users. Under this system, players simply find a game they like, whether it’s Viking Storm, Buster Safe or anything else, enter their phone number and wait for it to be delivered by SMS.
By refusing to delineate between the two operating systems, mFortune is essentially saying that its games are equal. Therefore, it not only allows the site to appeal to more potential players, but it avoids being placed into a specific box from which it can’t escape. Indeed, some online casinos, moreover game developers, have sometimes become stuck into focusing more on a specific platform.
While it’s certainly true there are differences between iOS and Android games, it’s important for a company not to focus on one at the expense of another. By removing the need for customers to visit their native store, developers can avoid this trap and offer a universal solution that appeals to a wider demographic.