Thursday, 12 May 2011

Android Grumbles

We've pretty much ceased to bother with Android, apart from occasional updates to the 3 titles currently on there. The reasons for this:

1) The service is absolutely swarming with crap. There are certain developers that specialise in cyclically releasing virtually invisible updates to their collection of match-3 games every 2 weeks just to stay atop the "just in" list as much as possible. There are hundreds of apps using the name of well-known film or TV shows, musicians, whatever it takes to get search results. There are apps which are basically the name of well-known iPhone games, followed by a lot of spaces, followed by "... Wallpaper". There's a dog fighting game on there. It's not a healthy and competitive market, it's a morass.

2) As a result, most Android users just look at the "Top" section, but that just means that those titles which already sold ungodly numbers sell more. Everyone else is ignored.

3) There's no practical way to market a game to Android users. There isn't even an equivalent of "freeappaday".

4) Android is supposed to be a blanket solution across multiple handsets, but apps have a horrible habit of randomly not working on some handsets when they work fine on others. This gets much worse if you use anything remotely complex such as wifi, bluetooth, or even the Contacts API.

5) Android users don't email to tell you it doesn't work. They give you a 1 star rating and post a comment to that effect. Neither can ever be removed, even if you fix the problem. This routinely happens due to point 4), above.

6) Android users consider £1.50 too much to pay for a game that took multiple people over a month to create, and get angry if the game they bought for 80p doesn't get updated every single month with new content.

So, as you can probably tell, we're not going back there unless someone pays us to, except to bugsplat our existing apps. It just isn't worth the time and effort.


  1. In answer to the question "what will you do instead?", I can tell you upfront: Steam. Vastly less crap on the service, comment and rating system much more sensible, generally works fine across different computers, and you can charge a reasonable amount for a game.

    Also, PC games rock.

  2. As an Android user, I wholeheartedly agree with you tha the Android Market is a pile of rubbish. I rarely use it - the last time I did it was to acquire a very specific app recommended by a friend (about two months ago, a thingy to help tune my uke). Points 1 and 2 are the main reason - it's bloody hard to find something that isn't in the top ten/ twenty/ whatever. Also, I have a hugely crap handset that seems to reject loads of apps for no apparent reason, and fails to give me any useful information that I could pass on (I generally just get "This application has encountered a problem. Force Close", which I'm sure wouldn't help a developer any more than it helps me). So yeah - Android sucks ass. Mightily.

  3. There are certain ways of getting better info from a crash, but they require you to download a special app. Much more effort than most people will be willing to put in.

    The system has what is clearly supposed to be an automated crash report tracker but it almost never works.