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Monday, April 23, 2012

Android sucks for games?

Trying to understand the mobile phone gaming landscape, I've come across a disturbing trend: that when it comes to games, the Android platform *SUCKS*.

Obviously Android doesn't have nearly as many apps as the iTune App Store. So the selection is always going to be smaller. And because iTunes App Store is such a juggernaut, the best Android games are going to be ported from the iPhone.

But there's an even worse problem that never gets mentioned.... the hardware fragmentation of Android devices makes it very, VERY difficult to get a coherent, easy-to-buy-and-download list of top games.

There are so many processors out there that many of them aren't supported. A prime example being Grand Theft Auto 3. This should be a very big game on a mobile device. I'm currently looking at buying an HTC Evo 3D, it came out spring/summer 2011, it has a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor.... and it's "not supported" to play the game. If you try to legally buy it from the Google Play store, it won't let you do so on an Evo 3D. The game does seem to work on the Evo 3D, but you have to pirate it to side-load it onto the phone. Because Google and the publisher won't let you download it legally.

I suspect a big part of why it doesn't have official compatibility with the HTC Evo 3D is because the phone's screen is 16x9, and the game seems formatted for something closer to 4:3. From what I've seen it playing on an Evo 3D, it's stretched out horizontally.

Ok, that's one game, a big title but still only one example. But you only need to look at Gameloft games for more examples. Gameloft has garnered a reputation of ripping-off big console titles and making phone versions of them. Some of these "ports" are more successful than others, but there are some definite good titles.

Try buying a Gameloft android title. You need to provide them with a mobile phone service provider to do so. That means you need a mobile phone plan, with data. In Canada, for us that means a 3 year contract with data. Which is about $2000.00 over 3 years.

So you need to pay $2000.00 over 3 years, at least $60.00 a month (plus tax) before you can buy a game from Gameloft.

So what's the alternative? iPhone? The iTunes App store is a monolithic closed eco-system, so I assume Gameloft games are in there like everything else. There shouldn't be any hassles like having to have a mobile service provider or whatever other malarkey.

Aside from the fact that the iPhone is basically one device, you can't get an iPhone with a bigger screen or 3D camera or qwerty keyboard... there's only one iPhone basically and you better like it... aside from that fact, an unlocked 16GB iPhone 4s price starts at $650.00, bought from Apple. The phones I'm looking at are about half that price used.

I am starting to believe that iOS is the only decent platform for mobile gaming.... but I can't even be sure of that because of the walled-garden mentality of the iTunes App Store. I hate, hate HATE stores with closed eco-systems like iOS and Playstation Store, where you can't even LOOK at what content is available unless you've already bought the consoles.

I just want to be able to BUY some decent mobile games. I don't want the hassles that can come from workarounds and pirating. Why is it so damn difficult just to make a consistent experience?



Anonymous said...

If you want to see IOS content, just go to the app store via iTunes. It's not rocket science.

Don said...

So I need to install iTunes just to see what's on their app store. What a joke.

Aside from iTunes being a massive unwieldy piece of bloatware, it will also demand to completely take over all media content on my PC at every step. I'm supposed to install iTunes just to be able to browse what's for sale on their store? I sure hope it isn't rocket science because I hope actual rocket science isn't as inane as that.

Thanks for making my point how annoying "walled gardens" are.


Anonymous said...

I love the "walled garden" that is the IOS app store. It keeps trashy apps that the Android is full of away from my device. Open system suck and this article is proof of that.

Anonymous said...

There's no reason that the iTunes store shouldn't be easily accessible to browse on any browser. What you refer to as ¨trashy apps” are kept out because Apple has to approve them before they show up on the store. That has nothing to do with being able to see what's available. Why can't Apple make it universally browsable?

All the items for sale on, say, Best Buy's website are approved by someone from Best Buy. Yet I can browse the site on any browser, I don't have to download a massive piece of bloatware just to see what they have for sale.

ps. I typed this on my 3DS... man was that hard....


Anonymous said...

You guys are crazy. You can google the crap out of the internet and you will find that apple has android beat hands down. I own an ipod, ipad, galaxie 10.1, 7.7, and two awesome android phones. Anyone that says android is better is just ignorant. Period. It's always been that way, PC or MAC, xBox 360 or PS3, etc. They all have their good and bad and the android phones with the different operating systems and crappy phones, as well as the awesome ones simply just don't measure up. They both have good and bad as I said but apple wins - I know, I have both....

Azmi said...

We have the same minds, the android still just sucks in terms of game variety. Developers are probably afraid of making games for android, to be in the safe zone they just keep making casual games and "copy" iOS games. No fragmentation they say. And from your post I just realize that iDevices are just another console platform in the lines of PS3 and 360 because it's a one device(well ofcourse there's the Ipad and the Ipod too but thats a different market). The iphone is released as one after another just like guess what? console platform!. People who can afford Iphone can surely afford buying games. Basically an iphone is just another console platform... Can't believe that. There's cost for developer to make games on it but its surely worth it.