TAG | Android

At the 2013 Game Developers Awards hosted by the GDAA, Puzzle Retreat was awarded with the Accessibility Award. Not only is it an awesome and prestigious award that we like showing off in our office, but it marks a very important milestone when it comes to game development. Film Victoria and Screen Australia now consider accessibility when it comes to providing funding and are now rewarding companies that excel in developing games that are accessible to a wide audience.’

We think this is pretty swell.

Accessibility in gaming has always been a topic of contention. How does one make a game that caters towards people with motor, cognitive, hearing, speech or vision impairments? Mainstream games usually shy away from this demographic in favour of the masses.

In terms of our games, we aim to make them accessible to those living with impairments. We believe everyone should experience the joy of gaming!

Puzzle Retreat was designed from the ground up with that philosophy in mind.

Sometimes games (particularly puzzle games) rely too heavily on language, small icons or graphics that are make it difficult for players with certain types of vision impairment or  difficulties with language to be able to understand and follow. We’ve attempted to alleviate the problem by using large and bold icons that can easily be differentiated. Furthermore we tried to make the game playable without understanding any written text.

There is an definitive association between time limits and penalties with puzzle games. I’m sure you’ve all felt the frustration of nearly completing a level, only to have the timer run out on you. We decided to take a different route when it comes to unforgiving scenarios.

We eliminated them entirely.

Puzzle Retreat allows players to take as much time on an individual puzzle as they’d like, reset it as many times as they want and even skip the puzzle entirely. Puzzle Retreat was designed to be a relaxing puzzle game, so it only felt right to dispose of time limits and penalties.

We’ve also tweaked the detection radius of the blocks so that its extremely forgiving when a player misses a block by a small margin. This feature, plus the removal of the timer allows players who don’t have a range of fine motor skills to be able to enjoy Puzzle Retreat.

We at The Voxel Agents are extremely excited when it comes to the future of gaming in Australia. With so many awesome studios producing games of such high quality and Film Victoria and Screen Australia providing consideration for funding to those who place emphasis on accessibility, we can’t wait to see what gets released in the future.

This is Agent Aiden, signing out.

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We spend a lot of time being all creative and fuzzy and nice here at The Voxel Agents, but often we need to stand back and have a good hard think about what’s actually happening out there in the mobile games space.

To make sure we are all still on top of everything, I spent all of last week researching the mobile market space. I forgot everything I knew about iPhone and Android and had a good hard look at the information that is out there. Some of my findings certainly will be old news to you, and some might change what you thought you knew. So, if you’re interested in the business (pronounced “biz-niz”) side of being an indie game developer, check this stuff out:

 

You may think the iPad is a mobile device, but you’d be wrong.

  • 43% of iPad owners use their iPad more than their desktop computer 
  • 28% say it’s their primary computer
  • 34% use it more than their TV
  • 83% use it primarily while at home. Only 11% use it on the go.

Source:
http://gigaom.com/apple/admob-survey-shows-what-the-ipad-is-good-for/

 

Developers are flocking back to the iOS platform

According to a blog post by Flurry, in the first quarter of this year, about 65% of new projects were for iOS compared to a respectable 35% targeting Android. However, in the second quarter, iOS accounted for 75% of new projects, leaving just 25% for Android.
It’s worth considering this is based on Flurry’s information alone, so it could equally be taken to mean that Flurry itself is proving to be more popular with iOS developers compared to Android dev’s. This would mean Flurry’s stats in the future are going to have a strong iOS bias.

Sources:
http://blog.flurry.com/bid/66618/iPad-2-and-Verizon-iPhone-Take-Some-Wind-Out-of-Android-s-Sail
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-20079497-94/apple-regaining-momentum-with-developers-study-says/

 

Even though iOS has more Apps, Android has more free Apps

And that’s not proportionately, that’s in total. The paid model is just not working well on Android.
This same report concludes that sometime this year, the total number of Android Apps will equal the number of iOS Apps (contradicting the story told by Flurry).

Sources:
http://www.distimo.com/blog/2011_04_the-battle-for-the-most-content-and-the-emerging-tablet-market/
http://makingmoneywithandroid.com/2011/05/google-android-marketplace-vs-apple-app-store-latest-report

 

iOS has served 15 Billion downloads compared to Androids 4.5 Billion

Given that the iOS App Store has been around for so much longer, this is not a bad showing from Android. However, the vast majority of the iOS downloads occurred in the face of competition from Android. The nail in the coffin: a greater proportion of those iOS downloads were paid.

Those numbers should have six 0's after them too, by the way

Also interesting: the average iOS user has downloaded 75 apps.

Sources:

 

Android App installs per day may be reaching parity with iOS installs

But more of the Android installs are free Apps. Clouding the picture is the fact that Apple has clamped down on “incentivized” installs which has removed a lot of “false” installs.

Source:
http://www.insidemobileapps.com/2011/07/14/android-ios-parity/

 

500,000 Android devices are activated every single day

Which means that in the time it took you to read this post another 30,000 Android users began on their merry way. What’s less clear is how many of these devices really deserve to be considered competitors to iOS devices; presumably a large number of them are low powered devices designed only for basic email / web access and social networks.

Sources:
http://www.ubergizmo.com/2011/06/google-activates-500000-android-devices-daily/

 

 

and most importantly of all…

Android or iOS regardless, it’s a very VERY tough market out there
There’s only so much pie, you see. If we all got an equal slice of that pie, then we’d take home about $8,500 each, which is hardly “quit your day job” money. If you then consider that Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja are both very very fond of pie, then you start to realise that a lot of developers are going hungry (so to speak…).
Sources:
http://gigaom.com/apple/the-average-ios-app-publisher-isnt-making-much-money/
http://blog.flurry.com/bid/24163/Rise-of-the-New-Middle-Class-Indie-iPhone-App-Developers-Part-I
http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/80-percent-of-paid-android-apps-are-downloaded-less-than-100-times-27-05-2011/ 

Thanks for reading this far. Hopefully this is useful information for you. Please let us know your thoughts on the state of the market. Should game developers consider market forces, or should they make games they love and hope that there’s an audience?

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We have been looking into the different Android devices out there, and there’s way more Android devices than you’d ever think! We were shocked to learn that there’s been 77 new Android phones released in just the first six months of 2011, more than 120 in 2010 and 35 in 2009! That’s crazy when you’ve coming from working on the iPhone!

Here’s some of the crazy Android phones we’ve spotted!

Slide out keyboards!

http://techcrunch.com/2009/10/19/android-galore-a-complete-list-of-the-android-phones-and-their-specs-droid-best/

 

Blackberry style keyboards

http://www.examiner.com/technology-in-national/another-android-form-factor-t-mobile-s-motorola-charm http://www.intomobile.com/2011/03/07/samsung-galaxy-pro-rocks-android-blackberry-form-factor/

 

Buttons everywhere!

http://phandroid.com/phones/

 

 

The Playstation Phone looks pretty awesome!

http://www.androidtapp.com/xperia-play-the-playstation-phone-review-why-should-you-buy-it/

 

Multiple screens!

http://phandroid.com/2010/12/06/the-weirdest-and-most-unique-form-factor-for-android-yet-by-samsung-video/

Highest selling units: http://blog.flurry.com/bid/54035/Android-Special-Report-Is-Samdroid-the-new-Wintel

Link to the complete list of android devices: http://www.androidtapp.com/list-of-android-devices/

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