Games are the most popular category of all mobile apps. They occupy over 20% in the App Store and almost 14% in Google Play. And every day, more and more games appear on the market because the industry is constantly growing, creating jobs, and bringing in a lot of money. According to the GlobalData report, the mobile gaming market will be worth $272 billion by 2030. And if you want to hop on that train, you should do it as early as possible because competition in the industry grows with revenues.
Most popular categories in June 2021, by share. Source: Statista.
The recipe for a mobile game hit is simple: interesting for users and profitable for the developer. This approach is beneficial for everyone. A constant flow of money helps the creators to hold the level. Mobile game developers can regularly release updates and monitor the quality of the game. And happy players, in turn, are more willing to spend money on a game if it works smoothly and causes only positive emotions. The choice of the development platform plays an important role in this process.
Let’s figure out how the platforms differ from each other and which one is better for launching your first game.
Decide who is your customer
The first question to ask yourself is: “Who do I want to make a game for?”. The better you understand your audience, the more likely you are to hit the target, not only with the genre and style of the game, but also with monetization. After all, the purchasing behavior of the average Android and iOS user is different.
Mobile Operating System Market Share Worldwide. Source: Statcounter.
According to Statcounter data for 2021, the market share of mobile devices on Android is about 72%, while iOS accounts for only 27%. It would seem that more devices mean more purchases. But look closer at the number of games developed for both platforms. According to the latest data, there are 477,877 mobile games available today in the Google Play store and 316,802 in the App Store. Although iOS devices have 2.7 times less market share, the gap between released applications is only 33%. It means that mobile game companies are actively releasing games for both platforms.
Number of gaming apps from 1st quarter 2020 to 1st quarter 2021. Source: Statista.
One of the reasons is the desire to reach as many solvent players as possible. The table summarizes the key differences between users of both platforms.According to this information, Android users would rather watch in-game ads than buying an App. iOS fans, on the other hand, are less sensitive to spending money. Geography also differs. So choose the platform that is more popular with your audience.
Choose revenue strategy
No matter how much money you spend on development, you will probably want to cover it and increase your income. So it’s worth thinking about a monetization strategy in advance. It is one of the key points since iOS and Android users have different approaches to spending. There are four main ways to make money:
- microtransactions or in-game purchases;
- purchase of an application;
All three methods you can implement in different ways. For example, you can replace a one-time purchase with a season subscription. Or you can open the free-to-play version of the game with several levels and then offer users to try the full one. The display of ads can also be different: constant banners, pop-up banners, videos for in-game rewards, etc. Gaming app companies often combine methods to earn more money.
Gaming apps annual revenue, in billions of dollars. Source: App Annie, Sensor Tower.
In 2020, the annual iOS gaming app revenue was $47.6 billion. On Google Play, gaming apps brought a little less — $31.9 billion. And the display of advertisements was the main source of income on both platforms. It accounts for 70-80% of all earnings. In second place are in-app purchases, about 15-25%. And only 5-10% of the income comes from the purchase of the application itself. And in any case, iOS users are much more willing to spend money than Android owners. But do not forget about market share: 72% versus 27%. Let’s take a closer look at the different ways to make money in games.
IOS players are more likely to spend money and make in-app purchases. An iOS user spends an average of $1 on each purchase, while Android users spend half as much on each purchase: $0.47. But it all depends on the game. If the app is free and fun, and the mechanics of microtransactions are clever, in-app purchases are an optimal way to earn money on both platforms.
According to statistics, 97% of Google Play apps are freely available. That means that developers receive all money from microtransactions and in-game advertisements. If your monetization scheme is based precisely on purchasing an app or subscribing to it, then iOS is the best choice.
Ads are the easiest and most effective way to make money. Many users are loyal to banner ads and short videos. They prefer to spend time watching the advertisement instead of paying for the application. Ironically, this type of income generates a lot more money for game creators than a one-time purchase. You can make money from advertising on any platform, but Android users are more loyal to banners and videos in games. In addition, the number of users on this platform is higher, so you can get more ad views.
Calculate mobile development cost
Game art services are not the cheapest pleasure. Let’s take a look at what makes up the development cost. It is the number of working hours multiplied by the value per hour for all team members. The final price depends on the number of team members and complexity of the game: the number of custom elements, animations, etc. In addition to the development itself, the application creation cycle includes:
- engineering and design;
- testing and management;
- technical support.
If you can learn more about the creative process, you can read our article about the seven stages of game development.
There are many other technical factors that affect the price. So it is impossible to say unequivocally what will be cheaper: IOS or android studio game development. Consider the fact that for games, studios prefer cross-platform development. And we will look closer at this way of creation at the end of the article.
Don’t forget about the testing process
iOS runs only on devices produced by Apple. And all other tech companies work with Android. Consequently, there are many more devices for testing: ideally, you need to test your game on each of the relevant samples, from the oldest on the market to the modern ones. And after correcting errors, the process is repeated. You cannot just skip the testing steps, as users will instantly lose interest in a poorly performing game. And restoring a reputation is not as easy as making a great first impression.
Think about update
While 85% of iOS users are consistently updating to the latest OS, over 70% of Android owners use different versions of operating systems. It means that during development, you will have to adjust the interface design for different screens and be sure to take into account the peculiarities of old systems and devices.
Working with iOS players is much easier. Updates are sequential, the number of devices on the market at the same time is small, and it’s easier to work with differences between them. Thanks to this, developers can make the game more convenient and understandable for the user. And a satisfied user is more likely to spend money on the game.
Prepare for publishing
Imagine that all the stages of development are over. The game is ready. You want to show it to new users and publish it. And here, the approach of stores for different platforms is fundamentally different.
On Google Play, you will pay $25 just once and get access to your account without restrictions. After a few hours, the game will be on sale, and you will be able to update it, test it and study user behavior. Android game development is cheaper if you look at it this way.
In the App Store, however, everything is much stricter. The payment here is regular. Every year you will have to pay $99 for the opportunity to place your application in the App Store. The process of reviewing and approving the game is longer – up to 48 hours. And if you have broken at least one of the many rules, you can get refused. So before publishing, you will have to study rules or find developers who have already released more than one application on iOS.
After publishing the game on both markets, you will need to pay 30% of your income. Although recently, as part of its small business support, Apple announced a rate cut for anyone who made less than a million dollars in the previous calendar year. In this case, the rate will be only 15%. Google play took a similar step. So the conditions after publication on both platforms will be equal.
Despite all the difficulties with the release of games, revenues from iOS applications are consistently high. In addition, strict verification and compliance with all the rules can make you a good reputation among users. Any game can pass on the Google Play market. But in the App Store, you need to pass strict inspection. And don’t forget about marketing strategy for your game. We’ve put together some useful tips about how to promote your mobile game here.
Choose a game design company
So, you have chosen your audience, found the method of monetization, and estimated the budget. It remains only to find a studio. Finding the perfect team that will help to bring your ideas to life is the most significant step. We advise you to look at the three things exploring mobile game studios.
The games market is young, but this does not mean that yesterday’s students can successfully develop mobile games. There are many nuances in the creation process. And with a skilled expert developer, you will spend less time and effort trying to figure them out. Our company has been on the market for more than seven years, and during this time we have developed 25 successful projects.
The human factor comes first. Whatever you do, everything is based on communication. After all, if you clearly understand each other and see common goals, work becomes much easier. However, there are no technical methods here. You have to rely on your intuition. But the number of team members can be a landmark. Game art production is a complex process. If one person performs several tasks at once, this is cause for concern. Stepico has more than 100 team members, and we can assemble a separate group only for your project.
The best way to find out if a team is right for you or not is to look at the portfolio. We advise you to look not at the projects similar to your idea, but creativity and diversity. After all, who needs another clone of a mobile game when you can do creative and stunning projects? For example, our team recently developed the Guild Of Guardians game, the main feature of which is modern technologies.
It is a free-to-play game where you can earn NFTs. It means, during the game, you can get unique objects. You own it. And you can sell them for real, not in-game currency. The idea of turning gaming achievements into real winnings resonated with the players. And if you are thinking about joining them, you can watch the trailer.
Use this life-hack
If you want to create a game, choose Stepico studio. We use the Unity cross-platform engine to make a universal game that will run without problems on any gadget. Unity game development has more benefits than native.
The code works on all platforms at once and adapts to any device. So you can take advantage of Android and iOS and get double the benefits. A single technology allows updates to be made simultaneously on all devices and avoids duplicate bug fixes. Remember that satisfied players are the key to the success of any game.
Also, the Stepico studio is in Ukraine. Development costs here will be much lower than in West Europe or US. And the quality will be at a high level, especially in comparison with cheaper India. We offer full-cycle game development, from the idea to post-release support. With us, you can relax and not worry about anything.
Take the first step towards developing your first game right now! Write to us, and we’ll help you to create a mobile hit.