Featured: Game Dev Quits Android Because of the High Costs of the Platform

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The game developer for Battleheart, a game for Android, quit before the new release, in part because of Google's new way of handling app expansions over 50 MB in size, but in the grand scheme of things, also because of high costs of the Android platform for them.

The main reason is of course the costs of the platform, which didn't really give the much return on investment, but Google's latest changes in how developers can expand an app's size, is completely incompatible with how they were going about expanding their own game on Android phones. They say it's not worth it for them to change the code right now, and they think it's wiser to just cut their losses at this point, which means no more Battleheart for Android.

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This is unfortunate, but while there are many developers who can deal with the Android platform's costs, there are also many more like the Mika Mobile developers here who simply find it too hard to develop games for Android unless they already have a lot of funding. So where does this problem come from, and can it even be fixed?

First of all, the problem comes from Google allowing manufacturers too much of a free reign with Android. While they did want Android to be open source, if they don't show some kind of direction for it, it means every manufacturer will pull it in their own direction, which causes strain for the Android platform. Instead Google needs to tighten up the platform, and make it more coherent for developers so they can develop on it with little costs besides the actual coding of the app itself, and not by spending time fixing bugs for certain devices.

The more Android grows, the bigger this problem is becoming, and the more Google needs to step in and do something about it. Google's problem is that they are too afraid that some manufacturer or carrier will leave them if they act too tough. I don't think they should worry all that much about it, and think first of the consumers and the developers. If the platform is great for them, the manufacturers and carriers will have no choice but to follow. After all, that's how many manufacturers got into Android in the first place – because a lot of people demanded Android phones.

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Google might not be ready to do this just yet, but Apple isn't going anywhere and if they are not careful, they will leave an open window for WP7, too. That hasn't happened yet, but better to be pro-active than re-active.