Not long after I posted yesterday’s entry on the importance of content to mobile OS’s, my attention was drawn to this post from Zombieville developer Mika Mobile. Essentially, the company has decided that it isn’t making enough from Android downloads to merit the time it takes to keep them updated, and is pulling out of Android development altogether:
“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.”
Mika Mobile only produce a couple of games for Android so this exit is unlikely to trouble Google too much, but they should heed the warning. Android is the most commonly used OS on the market, in the West at least, but the iPhone is way ahead both its range of apps and the amount of revenue it’s generating from them. Google’s Eric Chu has just stepped down as head of Android’s app sales after failing to make significant headway. Given the difficulty of producing apps for the many different variations of Android out there in the market, especially those that push the hardware in some way, the last thing Google will want is to slip further behind Apple in the app race.
So it looks like developers – and the media recruiters looking to fill those posts – may increasingly, int he shor-term at least, look at Android with a more critical eye.