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Battleheart developer drops Android as 'unsustainable'

updated 12:35 pm EST, Sat March 10, 2012

Mika Mobile says Android money-losing platform

Battleheart's creator Mika Mobile in an update explained that it was dropping Android support. Google's platform was losing money for the company, since it spent about 20 percent of its time supporting the platform but only ever made five percent or less of the company's revenue. Much of the effort was spent on issues specific to Android, where the diversity was only creating problems rather than helping.

"I would have preferred spending that time on more content for you, but instead I was thanklessly modifying shaders and texture formats to work on different GPUs, or pushing out patches to support new devices without crashing, or walking someone through how to fix an installation that wouldn't go through," one half of the husband and wife duo said. "We spent thousands on various test hardware. These are the unsung necessities of offering our apps on Android."

As such, the company could "no longer legitimize" the effort spent. Even a long-sought answer from Google, which allowed up to 4GB of hosted content so that developers didn't have to offer their own separate downloads for large apps, wasn't deemed worth reworking the software.

The statements are most suited to game development rather than general apps, but do reflect a hesitance from major developers to support Android for gaming. While Apple's iOS has a narrow spread of hardware, this and an emphasis on high-end graphics has given developers a consistent and more easily optimized platform to support.

Apple may have also fostered a culture willing to pay for good content that doesn't yet exist for Google. Metrics from mobile tracking firms have shown Android making just a sixth of iOS' revenue as the bias is much more in favor of free apps in the Google Play Store. Rovio's Angry Birds line is only available as a free, ad-supported version on Android as it was assumed too many would either refuse to buy a full copy or would pirate the title instead.

Google hasn't responded to the claims, but it's not expected to have much choice. Many of the original decisions behind Android, such as emphasizing SD card storage and a variety of devices over pure quality, are decisions that it can't easily reverse. One step has already taken place in Android 4.0, where it's now an option to have one large contiguous piece of internal storage and thus makes monolithic app downloads possible.

By Electronista Staff


  1. RL7189

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2010


    For Android

    Its call fragmentation!

    Comment buried. Show
  1. Jubeikiwagami

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2011


    Boost sales

    This news will boost your sales. Just let iOS users know about it and caching!

    Comment buried. Show
  1. bigmig

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2004



    Droid users understand value. We aren't interested in overpaying for apps, just like we aren't interested in overpaying for phones. If an app isn't ad supported, we don't want it. Come in, Android's entire parent company is ad supported!

  1. TheMacMan

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2006



    Mean. Cheap? You get what you pay for.

  1. FreeRange

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2009



    Android is a joke and a total clusterfk. This is particularly why they will not have the same success with tablets as the iPad is rapidly becoming the preferred consumer gaming platform and Android just can't compete at the same level as it is not "one thing" but a myriad of moving targets.

  1. SwissMac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2006


    Selfish Google doesn't care

    Google really was very selfish when bringing Android to market. All they cared about was their own advertising revenue, not the earnings of the developers. It's hardly surprising then that developers are less interested in developing for Android. When the actual users are too stingy to pay for apps, and there are dozens of different Android setups to code for, Android is not going to make developers much money. Just Google.

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999



    Google bleeds the developer's blood.

    This was expected from day one.

  1. facebook_Ryan

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Mar 2012


    Completely agreed.

    I'll say here what I just said on SlashDot:

    I completely support your decision to drop Android like a hot potato.

    In the two weeks since starting as a senior graphics engineer at a middleware company who shall remain nameless, I have learned from coworkers about, or personally experienced:

    - Drivers that crash if you try to actually use all of the texture formats they claim to support
    - Drivers that crash if you try to actually use certain ARBs that they report as supported
    - Drivers that report supporting 128 shader uniforms but crash if you try to access anything past the first 64
    - Drivers that report supporting various OpenGL ARBs but actually have a software path

    in fact, I don't believe there has been a single Android device that has come out so far that is *actually* point-for-point compliant with the requirements for OpenGL ES 2.0, yet they have no problems claiming to support it nowadays.

    GPU support on Android is utterly atrocious, and I've managed to learn this in all of two weeks at my new job.

    But surely it must be the developers' faults, to hear the Slashdot crowd tell it, right?

  1. facebook_Tri

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Mar 2012




  1. chefpastry

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Nov 2005



    I hope more developers follow his lead. With the plethora of low end Android devices out there, having to develop for the lowest common denominator can hamper not only Android versions of apps, but can also affect iOS versions.

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