ZombieVille and Battleheart Developer Quits Android, Sign of Fragmentation?

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Mika Mobile blogged
yesterday that they were going to no longer develop on Android. They cite the reason for their decision is based on their cost to benefit ratio. They simply say it is "unsustainable."

There's a big difference between generating revenue, and "making money" - It's not that they haven't generated income, but that income is offset by the additional support costs the platform has demanded. Where did your dollar go? We spent about 20% of our total man-hours last year dealing with Android in one way or another - porting, platform specific bug fixes, customer service, etc. I would have preferred spending that time on more content for you, but instead I was thanklessly modifying shaders and texture formats to work on different GPUs, or pushing out patches to support new devices without crashing, or walking someone through how to fix an installation that wouldn't go through. We spent thousands on various test hardware. These are the unsung necessities of offering our apps on Android. Meanwhile, Android sales amounted to around 5% of our revenue for the year, and continues to shrink. Needless to say, this ratio is unsustainable.


From a purely economic perspective, I can no longer legitimize spending time on Android apps, and the new features of the market do nothing to change this.

This makes for a good argument for fragmentation, but the reality of the situation is that the last time they updated either game was in July of 2011. Perhaps that is why their sales were so dismal? Maybe, maybe not. The issue of fragmentation will not go away, and we are not going to pretend to know exactly what goes into developing games for Android, but the question remains. Are the dizzying pace of handset releases eventually going to become Android's worst nightmare?

Via: Phandroid
 
If the app is >removed from market< the only way is to hope a p2p site has a copy.
 
This is kind of what you get with Androids hardware diversity.

There are phones with different resolutions, different CPU/GPUs, and of course the huge modifications that come with Sense, TouchWiz, Blur, and the others. They're are plenty of apps that just don't work on certain phones, because of the skins (not really the right word, since what they do goes beyond simple skinning).

At least with WP the hardware is universal (I believe all WP devices run SnapDragon CPUs), and they're all running the same unmodified OS.

Ultimately, I think it comes down to how much man power is there. Obviously, a company like Rovio has the backing to tackle this kind of stuff. This group most likely did not.
 
Google needs to consider making a spec requirement for Android devices. I know this has to do with patching for different hardware and having a lack of sales, but one of the main reasons Android doesn't do as well as iOS is because of the phone. Unfortunately, people don't use the awesomeness of a rooted Galaxy Nexus running CM9 or AOKP. Instead, they see the crappy, ugly Pantech phone attempting to run Froyo smoothly. I seriously think if manufactures had to choose between certain CPU and GPU, and had to have the phone run ICS or atleast the latest Gingerbread, Android would do A LOT better.
 
Google needs to consider making a spec requirement for Android devices. I know this has to do with patching for different hardware and having a lack of sales, but one of the main reasons Android doesn't do as well as iOS is because of the phone. Unfortunately, people don't use the awesomeness of a rooted Galaxy Nexus running CM9 or AOKP. Instead, they see the crappy, ugly Pantech phone attempting to run Froyo smoothly. I seriously think if manufactures had to choose between certain CPU and GPU, and had to have the phone run ICS or atleast the latest Gingerbread, Android would do A LOT better.

I agree with this entirely, there should be a basic google spec android design all manufacturers have to follow, like with Video cards, you have the basic design and you can build on it, but you cannot take away from it. Sure overclock it some, or add more ram, but don't take away from the reference design and release some PoS just to cut costs.

someday maybe
 
Android fragmentation is a very real and very bad problem for the operating system, especially for those who are actively developing for the mobile platforms. Working within a well known company that does have a mobile app for both Android and Apple, I can tell you first hand the headaches involved with the Android OS. With Apple, you develop for one set of standards, and if you meet those, you know the app is going to work across all devices. Yes, the Apple approval system is a bit of a joke in how they prioritize, but at least they're a good last check before you're in. With Android... You really just cannot program for all the problems you're going to see before you release something. Doesn't matter what you do, the app will work flawlessly on most devices, but will absolutely break on some, and without fail, if you release an update, you're going to get flooded with complaints because of issues you could not have foreseen because of the sheer number of different devices on the market. Developers legitimately hate the platform because of this, so yes, this is not surprising, and in fact, I would kind of expect this to happen with a bit more frequency in the future until Android gets some set standard.
 
Android fragmentation is a very real and very bad problem for the operating system, especially for those who are actively developing for the mobile platforms. Working within a well known company that does have a mobile app for both Android and Apple, I can tell you first hand the headaches involved with the Android OS. With Apple, you develop for one set of standards, and if you meet those, you know the app is going to work across all devices. Yes, the Apple approval system is a bit of a joke in how they prioritize, but at least they're a good last check before you're in. With Android... You really just cannot program for all the problems you're going to see before you release something. Doesn't matter what you do, the app will work flawlessly on most devices, but will absolutely break on some, and without fail, if you release an update, you're going to get flooded with complaints because of issues you could not have foreseen because of the sheer number of different devices on the market. Developers legitimately hate the platform because of this, so yes, this is not surprising, and in fact, I would kind of expect this to happen with a bit more frequency in the future until Android gets some set standard.

I "fear" these kinds of responses because it only stands to reason that this is sop when dealing with Android.

Sent from my DROID RAZR
 
I "fear" these kinds of responses because it only stands to reason that this is sop when dealing with Android.

Sent from my DROID RAZR

Don't get me wrong. I love Android and could never think of switching to Apple, but seeing first hand the headaches associated with programming and developing for Android vs the relative ease of iOS, I do see where there is a huge problem that Google has to address in the future. And without fail, whenever something does inevitably go wrong with the Android app on fringe devices and devices running older and close to outdated versions of Android, the comments section of the app gets flooded with "your update broke... how can you employ such crap developers" and other angry users who have no clue whats really going on.
 
The only way for Google to get around this, IMHO, is to standardize things and have more control over the OS. If they write the OS and then give it to Manufacturers, the code gets changed, only some devices get the update, and one handset might get it today and another won't get it till 2 weeks before the new version of Android drops... Then the carriers get involved and make it even worse with their changes and bloat, etc...

Google needs to say, "Here is the new version, all the phones on the market that can support this need to have the OTA by this date" or something like that. And the carriers need to be out of the software/OS business. Just provide the network and services and leave the devices alone.

Until they can get a majority of the phones all running the latest code and sort of level the playing field, this stuff will happen.
 
What's the issue with game developers developing based on the GPU, and Android version? This makes the most sense to me. You can't really develop on make and model, there are too many.
 
What's the issue with game developers developing based on the GPU, and Android version? This makes the most sense to me. You can't really develop on make and model, there are too many.

The problem is that there are simply too many phones, hardware configs, OS versions, manufacturer skins, etc... It is a support nightmare because what works on one phone may not work on another, and when you fix the one, you invariably break something else...

That is the issue with Android. It's free and open and so that makes it appealing in a lot of ways, but if you are a dev writing apps to make money, would you rather write something once for one platform that is almost gauranteed to work on any phone on that platform, or would you rather try to write for a platform with hundreds of phones and hardware configs, etc...?

Android's strength, is also its weakness.
 
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Mika Mobile blogged
yesterday that they were going to no longer develop on Android. They cite the reason for their decision is based on their cost to benefit ratio. They simply say it is "unsustainable."



This makes for a good argument for fragmentation, but the reality of the situation is that the last time they updated either game was in July of 2011. Perhaps that is why their sales were so dismal? Maybe, maybe not. The issue of fragmentation will not go away, and we are not going to pretend to know exactly what goes into developing games for Android, but the question remains. Are the dizzying pace of handset releases eventually going to become Android's worst nightmare?

Via: Phandroid

Where does it say they had bad sales? Both games were quite popular. I think this is the fault of fragmentation and the fact that there is a new android device every week (see: Motorola)

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using DroidForums
 
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