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When do you decide to go multi-platform?

09-27-2012, 02:26 AM
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Singapore
Posts: 367
When do you decide to go multi-platform?

This question goes out to the developers and producers: When and Why do you decide that your app/game should be on multiple platforms (iOS,Andriod,etc)?

Do you think that your app/game being on multiple platform will bring better overall sales? Or perhaps you will see how it performs on one platform before deciding to the port the app to another platform?
09-27-2012, 04:06 AM
Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Devon, UK
Posts: 121
Porting used to be a consideration for me, now on 3rd game. If I made a 4th game then I would port it alright...to iOS.

Web: www.zenout.co.uk
Follow: @zenoutJez
Developer: BubbleSand Tetroms (Attic Eyes...Soon!)
AppStore search string: "Jez Hammond"

09-27-2012, 04:30 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Morestel, France
Posts: 571
Use a cross platform engine, then porting won't be such a difficult task.
Off course it will brings more sales.

PS: my own c++ engine currently support iOS/Mac/Pc

09-27-2012, 05:32 AM
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 139
We were doing Facebook games and now going multiplatform with Adobe AIR. It was pretty necessary decision, since mobile is a must have these days. And deploying mobile apps with AIR is pretty easy and you maintain one code.
09-27-2012, 06:48 AM
Consider the following when deciding whether or not to port from iOS to Android:

- How much will it cost to port? This is where it's easy to grossly underestimate the work needed to cover a reasonable device base on Android. Depending on how graphics-heavy your game is, note that the GPUs and their drivers in devices across the Android landscape have very different characteristics, made worse that the same device may contain different hardware depending on where in the world you bought it (for example, SGSIII can be dual or quad-core and with Nvidia or ARM GPU).

- Which distribution channels are you aiming for? Just Google Play, or also Amazon, Samsung App Store etc.? Understand that each distribution channel will involve a separate distribution agreement and separate customer support channel.

- How much ongoing support will the game need? This is another usually underestimated element. There will be plenty of refund requests (which you do need to handle, unlike on iOS) and technical support emails from owners of various handsets who experience random difficulties. If you're a small shop, you may find yourself spending much more time working on customer service than on game development.

- What is the expected revenue? Is the business model of your game a good match for the Android user base? There are many of singular success story articles out there, but from a bird's eye view the entire revenue generated on Google Play is estimated at 20-30% of iOS (one example is Flurry's write-up from March).

- What is the opportunity loss? If it takes you, say, three months to port a game and put it through a decent QA round, how does that relate to the work you could have done on your iOS version or a new game?

For a small studio, it's important to focus. If you're just starting out and your first game is generating decent revenue on iOS, going multiplatform may well be a decision that eats away your ability to make a new game. The dynamics change depending on the size of your company, the complexity of your game and the business model you've chosen.
09-27-2012, 01:21 PM
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Singapore
Posts: 367
Very nice post there @Frand, very informative and gives dev houses something to think about when considering going multiplatform. (btw, i loved zen bound 2, though i skipped the first one)

Let's say you have released an app on the iOS app store and the reception was not impressive even after minor feature upgrades. Would any of you think that porting this app to other platform be any good? Provided the app is using a framework that facilitates "relatively easy" porting, i say "relatively" because differences in platform frameworks may require the engineer recode some features in the platforms native language.

Is it time for a developer to move on? Or should he carry on improving the app? Perhaps he should port the same version to other platforms? Maybe spend some resources on localization?

Questions that kinda bug me...
09-27-2012, 02:45 PM
Originally Posted by unexpect3rd View Post
Is it time for a developer to move on? Or should he carry on improving the app? Perhaps he should port the same version to other platforms? Maybe spend some resources on localization?
Those questions are again related to the scale of the company and the cost of doing business: if your premium iOS game cost hundreds of thousands to make, and porting to another platform is only a fraction of that cost, then additional platforms may make sense from that perspective.

For a small studio, if the port itself is as expensive as a new game, and would launch on a platform with lower revenue expectations to begin with, just make a new game (benefits: tighter focus, better track record, ability to cross-promote your own games).

If your game has no traction on the App Store even after a suitable period of post-launch support, it probably makes no sense to do an expensive port to any platform or channel. But this is of course never so simple... if your game is a quality product but only lacked visibility, then perhaps a port is worth it if the new channel is committed to featuring it (note the word committed and be sure you know the details of what it actually means!). Sometimes other platform holders are willing to cover the porting costs and/or minimize your risk by paying advances against royalties.

So at least if you try a new channel with the same content, make sure you've learned what went wrong the last time and do things differently - investing repeatedly into ports and then launching them to the sounds of crickets chirping will only lose you money every time.

The best thing that can happen is if you manage to make a game that gets traction and grows a user base that sustains your studio. At that point, update, improve and grow that game, and grow your team organically. Get enough resources so that you can keep your successful game going, and then face the positive problem deciding if your available team members will be involved with port vs. sequel vs. new game. Of those three, porting is rarely the most appealing option...
09-27-2012, 07:19 PM
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Leo City
Posts: 389
really informative post from Frand

thanks I learnt from it too
09-28-2012, 10:40 AM
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 3
Rolling Two Dice

In my experience, there are a lot of apps that have very different experience from a success perspective on iOS and Android. I've seen tons of cases where there is a version on one platform with huge download numbers and a version that is barely off the ground on the other.

This carries a few implications. First off, you have to meter your expectations. If you have an app that is successful on one platform, don't assume that you will definitely find discovery on the other. Second, your moderately successful app on one platform may to incredibly well on the other. You double your chances of getting featured, and massively increase your total market reach. It is a risk hedging strategy. If Android starts to really pull away from a market share perspective, and you have been exclusively focusing on iOS, you may end up kicking yourself.
09-28-2012, 11:14 AM
Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Devon, UK
Posts: 121
Excellent thoughts which have me thinking differently. My code is all C++, I'm just going to release on whatever is available. This will come down to which devices the testers own.

I'm not so sure about Android still as the market is fragmented. Would prefer a publisher on that platform. Apart from that I for one have decided to continue self-publishing. Survival is the minimum for my expectations, which is actually quite a high expectation.

Web: www.zenout.co.uk
Follow: @zenoutJez
Developer: BubbleSand Tetroms (Attic Eyes...Soon!)
AppStore search string: "Jez Hammond"