Android won't be comparable to iOS for games until 2012, claims Trip Hawkins

Google needs to get proactive about games

Android won't be comparable to iOS for games until 2012, claims Trip Hawkins

One of the side effects of massive Android device sales is a sharper focus on what the platform has to offer developers and publishers.

As such, a report by Bloomberg throws up some interesting facts about the OS from a development perspective, with the studios cited – perhaps predictably – claiming Android is yet to offer up the same rate of revenue returns as iPhone.

However, while fragmentation – which not only causes certain apps not to work on certain flavours of Android, but also blocks access to Google Market – is often cited as the main issue behind any drop off, Digital Chocolate president Trip Hawkins believes Google itself is holding the platform back.

Paying for free play

It's Hawkins' view that Google's decision to allow consumers to play paid apps for 24 hours before returning them for a full refund is both senseless and lazy.

"When so many other things on the app store are already free and everything else is free for 24 hours, why would anyone pay for a game?" Hawkins speculates on his Omni Media Gamer work blog.

"Android has the potential to be a platform comparable to Apple by 2012, but as a game platform right now, Android strikes out."

Hawkins goes on to cite two other areas in which he believes Google is going against the grain with the platform - the first being the lack of a one touch payment system on many devices, the second Google's apparent closed attitude to advertising on the platform.

Ad aches

"Google does not currently allow competing ad networks on Android so there are no offer completion networks, which have been a staple of the growth and evolution of engagement and payment with social games," Trip continues.

"As social games have been the only type of game that can monetise without direct payments, this policy nukes Android for the remainder of the game industry."

Hawkins believes Google's acquisition of Jambool could well calm such concerns in the near future, although it remains his view that Android is a format still slowing getting to its feet.

"As long as they keep selling devices, Android could be a great game business within two years, but it would blossom much faster if Google becomes more proactive about these issues."

[source: Omni Media Gamer]

Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.