About Android development

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Crackpot, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. Crackpot

    Crackpot New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    So, I'm finding many articles on the internet that game devs, especially indie devs aren't going for the Android platform due to piracy and that it's not profitable at all.

    Is this true? I thought that the free apps used google's ads and people would get profits from those. So if someone were to make a good app worth .99 it would still get pirated?

    There's too many opinions flying around it's hard to make a sound decision on if working on the Android platform is worth the investment.
     
  2. electronicStar

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,068
    Likes Received:
    0
    Maybe there is not enough statistical data yet because devellopers have been mostly shunning android in favor of ios (and when they release on both, ios numbers are generally much better so their opinion tends to be biased against android)
     
  3. jpoag

    jpoag New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Messages:
    806
    Likes Received:
    0
    Rovio released Angry Birds on Android -- for free. However, as an ad supported app, the most common request is for a paid version.

    https://market.android.com/details?id=com.rovio.angrybirds

    Is there a pirated version? What would be the point?



    From a business standpoint, a highly pirated platform (assuming that Android is as pirated as purported) still works with the marketing funnel to capture potential customers for other, paid platforms (although I guess the quality of traffic from a pirated version could be debated).
     
  4. puggy

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    0
    It may be worth developing in, it may not. The biggest problem in knowing is that the android market share was small until august 2010, since then it's been increasing quite a bit so there's still some unknowns about the market. Add to the fact that the biggest increase has been with the lower cost mobile market (for example the ZTE Blade, packaged as the san fransico in the uk by orange for £99, though available world wide by various other names).

    Also (from what limited knowledge i have about developing with android) most apps are made in java, though i do believe other languages will be available, i'm not sure if it's gingerbread (the current OS name, 2.3) that you can do this for or if it's the next one so keep that in mind as not all phones use the latest OS version.

    So it could be a market about to become huge, or it could be a market filled with 'freeloaders'. I'd suggest some serious research beforehand as it could go either way.
     
  5. cyrus_zuo

    cyrus_zuo New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2004
    Messages:
    829
    Likes Received:
    0
    Google, as a company, makes the vast majority of their money indirectly.

    On Android, as on the web, that means through advertising.

    If you look at the top selling games on Android in the marketplace, you'll see their ranges are 250K-500K downloads.

    If you look at the top free games you'll see their ranges are 10-50million downloads.

    With that kind of ratio between free and paid applications, Free + Advertising is probably the best way to go on Android.
    (and AdMob just happens to be owned by...da-da-da-dum...Google!)
    It's clear the audience on Android is much more likely to get a 'free' ad-supported game, and the revenue per user from ads, from all my research, is pretty equivalent to the $.99 (which may say more about game price erosion than it does about ads becoming more successful over time). Meaning you're likely to make the same amount of money per user with free, but with a lot more users.

    My opinion of the moment is that you should take the 'When in Rome' approach and follow what the platform does, which is this case is being FREE + making money indirectly instead of directly off of the sale.
     
  6. lennard

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Messages:
    2,388
    Likes Received:
    12
    I'm noodling around with a new game design that will work with a single finger touch interface. I'm going to code it in Flash with the expectation that it can be ported to Android using Air (hopefully by a 3rd party). Can anybody lay out a roadmap for what to look out for and what resolution to target?
     
  7. Grey Alien

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    0
    I spoke to the Angry Birds guys in Vancouver when they were visiting and they said the Android version has made as much money form ads (admob) as the paid for iOS version! So clearly that's the way to go.
     
  8. puggy

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    0
    While android supports flash, be carful with this one as only some phones will work. adobe only supports the newer cpu's, for example it only works for ARM7 cpu's but not ARM6
     
  9. andrew

    andrew New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Messages:
    487
    Likes Received:
    0
    So, it appears all the rumors about piracy are unfortunately true. I'm seeing a ratio of about 15-20x pirated versions to legit purchases for my app :( I can track plays by country and in order they're: China, US, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan. I can google my APK and it's all over the place.

    Android Market does have a new licensing service you can use, but it's convoluted and who knows how easily it's cracked. It's generally not a great marketplace, and hopefully the soon-to-be-launched Amazon app store will encourage more people to discover and purchase apps.

    How high are the mobile CPM's? Even at $1 CPM you're looking at 1000 plays to generate the equivalent of a $0.99 sale...

    Oh, also, the viral Flash version has a big front-page link to the Android Market, and clickthrough rates have been about 0.5-1%. Can't easily tell how many go on to complete purchase, though, but it's pretty low.

    - andrew
     
  10. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Messages:
    5,130
    Likes Received:
    0
    So in practice the itunes will be $0.99 apps while android all free but with ads? as a player I'd have no doubts what to choose (I hate ads).
    Problem of price erosion is that big companies or good titles will continue to make good money, but small indies or niche titles won't recoup dev costs at all...
     
  11. cyrus_zuo

    cyrus_zuo New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2004
    Messages:
    829
    Likes Received:
    0
    Why?
    I'd see it the other way.
    Big Companies won't make enough money or will lose money from over spending. I see lots of opportunity on both platforms at present (but then Airport Mania has been successful in both places, so maybe I've got rosy colored glasses).

    In regards to paid/ads, there is no reason not to offer both on a device and let the market decide. Angry Birds has been moving to ads on iOS, but you can still offer a paid version as well for the minority (which I count myself a part of) who would pay to not have to have ads.
     
  12. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,859
    Likes Received:
    2
    Couldn't agree more. Nobody is forcing a choice here, do both.

    Not actually done this myself yet, but that's the current plan with our soon to be released iOS game. If that sells reasonably then a port to Android will follow in short shrift.
     
  13. HL706

    HL706 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    For a landscape layout - target 800 x 480
    For portrait - 480 x 800

    That's the most common screen resolution for Android applications. I'd be wary of performance though, I'm currently developing a new game idea for Android using Flash and I'm noticing around 20% framerate drop between my development machine and the handset.

    Avoid using event listeners as much as possible. I've had to use a global heartbeat timer and pass in a time delta to each game object instead of using an ENTER_FRAME event.

    You pretty much can't use any graphical/math techniques dynamically, like alpha blends, scaling or 3D rotations. Pre-render/animate as many of these as you can and show them as a static animation.

    There's loads more but I'm sure you'll pick these up as you go along.
     
  14. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Messages:
    5,130
    Likes Received:
    0
    Heh, true :D no reason you cannot offer both options and let people decide!
     
  15. electronicStar

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,068
    Likes Received:
    0
    I see a lot of android phones with 480x320 or so resolutions, what happens then, is the 800x480 screen downscaled to fit in this smaller resolution?
    It seems that most of the android phones sold ATM have a smaller resolution than 480x800.
     
  16. jcottier

    jcottier New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    1,385
    Likes Received:
    0
    I haven't ported my libs to Android yet, but I guess, this is the same problem as desktop res. Simply create your game for a specific res and scale (up or down) to fit the real physical display res and add vertical or horizontal black bars.

    JC
     
  17. Derek5432

    Derek5432 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm a full-time indie focused mostly on Android. I've commissioned ports of a few apps to iPhone, but most of my revenue comes from Android.

    For most of my games I've released both a paid and free, ad-supported version. Up until around August of 2010, paid sales and ad revenue each made up about 50% of my revenue, but around that time ad revenue really started to drop off for me. I have more impressions now than ever, but ad revenue is probably more like 20-30% of my revenue.

    Angry Birds has had good results with ad-only apps on Android, but I think they've done a poor job with integration. They place ads at the top of play screens, obscuring game play elements, and I'm sure leading to unintentional clicks.

    Anyway, I was the first to market with an Android version of asynchronous Scrabble play (my game is called WordWise), and we were also the first to have cross-platform play between Android and iPhone. But Words With Friends was released just a couple of days ago on Android, and sales have already dropped by about half. As a solo developer, I can't compete with Zynga. I released last May on Android, and the app has done pretty well, so it was a worthwhile investment of time, but I'm focusing on other projects.

    I've got a Match-3/Virtual Pet hybrid that's close to completion for Android. I hope to release within the next 10 days or so. I'll release a paid version first, probably at the $1.99 price point, then follow up with a free ad-supported version. I'll probably also hire someone to port it to iPhone.

    As far as screen sizes for Android, this is the essential reference:

    http://developer.android.com/guide/practices/screens_support.html

    With phones only, you could get away with 3 sets of graphical resources. They basically binned them into three categories (small, medium, and large screens). Actually, initially I ignored the small screens, because until recently there really weren't any on the market. The HTC Wildfire has now become a relatively popular small device, but the vast majority of devices are still medium or large. Small screens are generally 240x320. Medium are generally 320x480, and large are generally either 480x800 or 480x854. So recently I produced three sets of graphical resources. But tablets are making things even more of a headache. For example, they just introduced an 'extra high' resolution category into the SDK, but some tablets, like the 7" Galaxy Tab are the same resolution as many phones (high), but its screen size is 600x1024.

    Google provides a weekly snapshot of screen sizes and densities in the wild here:

    http://developer.android.com/resources/dashboard/screens.html

    About half the phones are hdpi (high density) and about half are medium (mdpi). A very small percentage are either low or extra high. My strategy is to mostly target medium and high density phones. I've gotten some complaints about my apps rendering on the 7" Galaxy Tab, but honestly I don't have the time or resources to deal with it. If Android tabs take off this year, I'll consider releasing versions specifically for tablets.

    If you have any other specific questions about Android, though, ask away.
     
  18. HL706

    HL706 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm pretty sure those smaller handsets don't support the Flash 10.1 runtime needed making it a bit of a non-issue for Flash developers (atm at least). I could be wrong on that front but that was the case when my last game went to market (last year admittedly).

    For Java developers though, I could imagine this fragmentation of handset specs is an absolute nightmare.
     
  19. cyrus_zuo

    cyrus_zuo New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2004
    Messages:
    829
    Likes Received:
    0
    For AM on Android we have the game on first run download the proper art assets for the phone. We have a standard 320x240 version and a HD version for higher resolutions. (I believe this is pretty much standard practice now)

    I actually think it is very cool that you can do that on Android, using one app that will on first run figure out which art it should get and then provide it, giving players the best experience possible for their device.
     

Share This Page

  • About Indie Gamer

    When the original Dexterity Forums closed in 2004, Indie Gamer was born and a diverse community has grown out of a passion for creating great games. Here you will find over 10 years of in-depth discussion on game design, the business of game development, and marketing/sales. Indie Gamer also provides a friendly place to meet up with other Developers, Artists, Composers and Writers.
  • Buy us a beer!

    Indie Gamer is delicately held together by a single poor bastard who thankfully gets help from various community volunteers. If you frequent this site or have found value in something you've learned here, help keep the site running by donating a few dollars (for beer of course)!

    Sure, I'll Buy You a Beer