For a long while now there has been a bit of a battle raging on between the two big boys in mobile platforms.
Many believe that iOS tends to provide the more quality titles compared to Android, no doubt due to Apple’s certification process. Whilst the certification process doesn’t help ensure there are quality apps in terms of original and well built apps (i.e. there’s still plenty clones and derivative games), however you don’t have so many blatantly broken apps.
Naturally having a certification process that gets rid of games which just don’t work is a good thing. It is infuriating how many Android games I’ve played that are just broken or covered in ads. Perhaps the requirement to be functional is one of the factors reducing the number of clones, or minor variations on a successful game/genres. This is important to me because as a gamer I want to try different and unique games. I don’t want to just see the store cluttered with variations on projectile games (Angry Birds), Flappy Bird, F2P God sims, match-3, endless runners and tower defence. I want to see a whole range of games when I open the store with plenty unique experiences. iOS seems a little better than Android here, but in truth many games do seem to be more of the same.
However this doesn’t make iOS my preferred platform. To be honest I’m really not a fan. The store is absolutely horrible with an obvious focus on Featured Apps with the games Apple wants us to buy being pushed in our faces. Its nice to have advertising of favourite and popular titles but what surprised me was how hard it was to find new titles of different genres. It seemed like unless it was popular or brand spanking new, you just couldn’t see it. Android might require you to scroll for ages to find a hidden gem but on iOS it is just a case of “No hidden gems for you. Pick from one of our money makers.”.
I’ve found Android tends to have a few ugly but brave and interesting games that might not have a huge amount of polish but can provide simple enjoyment. These games probably don’t make much, if any money, and seem more to be something made by someone for the sheer hell of it, or the developers are trying to expose the game to help themselve learn more about it and their players. I like this. iOS seems to only have games that are (understandably) desperate for commercial success. This means more polish and generally well made but possibly compromising enjoyment for business models at points.
So which is better? A platform that is open with a store that allows you to find rough and raw yet enjoyable titles or something with certification to eridicate the pointless shite.
I’ll go with both thanks. I’ll go with Windows Phone 8.
I’ve had one for a couple of years now and if Carphone Warehouse ever do call me back, my next phone will be another Lumia. They are really great. In terms of providing your content (e.g. Facebook notifications, text messages, photos etc) as part of the whole look and feel and providing you with this information, it is way better than iOS or Android, but this is a gaming blog.
The obviously downside of Windows Phone 8(.1) is the lack of apps. There’s much fewer apps getting released on Windows Phone 8 than on iOS and Android. As a result you’re (unfortunately) going to miss out on a lot of wonderful games. However that said, there’s still hundreds of games that you’ll enjoy just as much on the Windows Phone 8 store. Okay, you don’t have millions to pick from but lets face it – how many games do you actually install and play? Somehow I doubt many people are buying hundreds of games a month.
There’s a nice range of big blockbuster titles (I’ve got a couple, including Guardians of the Galaxy) and small indie games (like my game X-Orbtek). Some are really well made games, some are derivative and some are the interesting yet flawed style that I kind of like on Android. You’re certainly not going to be stuck for choice.
Where I think the Windows Phone 8 actually improves on its competitors is that it integrates with Xbox. From having apps to play about with your avatar to actually earning achievements in game, there’s a decent level of integration. If Microsoft are set to continuing with Windows Phone (not earned the commercial success its deserves) then I can only see it getting better.
There’s another nice little touch which is the tiles. Resizing them is a nice visual touch and you can have your favourite app have a nice big tile with its full size artwork. Developers can also have the apps display text when the tiles cycle so you can have your high score stats show up, current level etc. Whilst it works a bit better for apps like Facebook, it is still a nice little addition.