Android vs Apple, The Developer Truth

Here at LazyBrush we have now written our game Lexigon for both Apple iOS devices and for Android devices.

It is about 10k lines of code on the Apple device and a bit less on the Android as we didn’t port over the Apple Multiplayer Game Center code, and some other differences.

Technically the two versions are as different as oranges and, um, apples. See my other articles on the port from objective-c to java and c++.

More importantly, the release route is also vastly different. If you are coming from the Apple side of the fence and expecting similar downloads you may be in for a surprise, or shock.

With Lexigon on Apple the Day 1 downloads were over 1000. Sadly, we had bugs in this version and had some disappointing, but fair reviews. As such the download rate tailed off over the days after release. 6 months later we are upto version 1.5 and have no bugs, but sadly have missed the Golden Day 1 downloads.

On android we used the Version 1.5 from iOS as the basis of the port and were hopeful that Lexigon might take off Big Time. Our thinking was that we had a better game, and perhaps the downloads wouldn’t tail off.

On Apple they have New Release section where you can see newly released apps. This is where we get our 1000+ downloads. People see it there, like the icon, maybe like the screen shots and download. (Updates, or app running on both iPhone and iPad do not get you on the ‘New Releases’ chart, it is purely Day 1 which is the Golden Day.)

On google there isn’t a New Release section. On Day 1 on Google Play we got 1 download. This doesn’t include downloads from friends and ‘Steve’s Mum’.

So there we have it, a staggering 1000:1 ratio. After a week in Google Play there isn’t much of a change. With Apple you get a chance of success, with google you are sent immediately into the abyss.

The way people would ‘find’ Lexigon would be by doing a search and Lexigon being in the results. If we had named the game ‘Angry Lexigon with Friends and Birds Something’. Then we might get more search hits. But, even at LazyBrush we have standards.

Of course, you can always pay to have advertising. However, from all that I have researched that doesn’t really work unless you are spending substantial amounts. At the moment, no doubt like most indie developers, my advertising budget could quite easily be blown on a couple of beers. If you don’t have money to spend on advertising you could make up some nonsense about the 15th Century.

I would guess the way to get the overnight success would be with years of writing many apps. Each new app has links to all your previous apps. Then if you are lucky you might hit that critical mass where you get that overnight success. Or, it takes too long between releasing apps that you never quite reach critical mass, and so you never ever make it.

I don’t want to sound too depressing for those wanting to enter this arena. There are several success stories, just because this isn’t one doesn’t mean you can’t do it. If like me you haven’t made it yet, or might never make it, you still get a bit of a glow from knowing that there are people out there who have played your games or used your app and quite like them. If that doesn’t give you a warm glow, how about a picture of a cat in my back garden?

If that didn’t work, how about ending with a couple of quotes. A pro Apple friend said when discussing the poor Android downloads – ‘You see, the typical Android user is so tight even a Free download is too expensive for them!’ In contrast an anti Apple friend said a similar comment about how Apple users blindly pay for anything and their kit is over priced. And the battle goes on…

I’m not going to get drawn into such things. My main aim is to write software for people to enjoy. For me, the language, the OS and the hardware is irrelevant.

I hope you have enjoyed this little article. If you want to try Lexigon pop over to and give it a go. Above all enjoy yourself and have fun!


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