Just two years ago, browsing the Android market for games often meant either finding a slew of Angry Birds titles or its clones, while friends and family on iOS devices had access to titles like Jetpack Joyride first and more hardcore titles from a vast range of established gaming companies like Square-Enix. However, a quick glance today reveals titles like NBA Jam and Final Fantasy III, legitimizing Android devices for gamers as much as any iOS device. With the incoming release of the Ouya and announcements for nVidia’s Project Shield and Game Stick, there seems to be an impending explosion of Android gaming awaiting us in 2013 and on. However, this comes with it a series of pros and cons that gamers must analyze before either getting onboard with or shrugging off Android gaming.
One of the greatest things that Android has over iOS is its open source code. Though that hardly affects consumers directly, it makes way for a variety of companies to get into the console production business and smaller studios to get games to their audiences faster. There’s a ton of gems on the Android for players to find, including music rhythm games like Cytus and HellFire that just beg for attention. Though the Android market is large, cross platform purchases make purchases easy to relocate and install on additional devices – there were few apps that I could not install on newer devices I bought, whether it was a phone or tablet.
Ask any Android developer and you’ll always hear about the convenience of pushing out apps or updates to the market as opposed to doing so for the iOS App Store. The Android platform is unquestionably the best one for smaller developers to reach a broader audience. On top of that, a vast library of free and freemium titles will satisfy Android owners looking for a quick fix.
- Open source development
- (Hopefully) Cross platform purchases
- Indie/homebrew friendly
- Great deal of freemium titles
The Android market is easy to submit apps for, which is as much a blessing as it is a curse. With few measures in place to regulate apps, aside from those that have adult content, there is a ridiculous amount of clones on the market, including titles like Survivalcraft and a wide range of logo quiz games. It really feels like a cesspool of gaming where pirates of ideas run rampant. On top of that, the ease of pirating for the device – just look at all the APK files you can find online – makes the platform a little less than legitimate.
Though supporters of Android love the variety of devices that run it, ranging from giants like Samsung to trustworthy companies like ASUS, this has always led to disappointment for gamers. It’s true that they all run the same operating system, but companies still manage to secure exclusives that alienate the rest of the market, such as Samsung’s initial acquisition of Flipboard and Sony’s current hold on jubeat plus. This trend will only continue with Project Shield, Ouya, and other Android gaming platforms.
- Rampant copycat games
- Ease of piracy
- Simply too many platforms
- (Likely) exclusives on certain devices
Android devices are here to stay without a doubt. But siding with or against the operating system’s potential is no simple decision, carrying with it many other consequences than simply casual games or as an act of defiance against the almighty iOS.