The Unsustainable Economics of the Android Market

by Christopher Paul on March 12, 2012

From Mika Mobile via The Loop and Darring Fireball

The makers of Battleheart talk about Google’s Android Market and it’s future there. You can probably surmise that it’s not bright.

There’s a big difference between generating revenue, and “making money” – It’s not that they haven’t generated income, but that income is offset by the additional support costs the platform has demanded. Where did your dollar go? We spent about 20% of our total man-hours last year dealing with Android in one way or another – porting, platform specific bug fixes, customer service, etc. 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. We spent thousands on various test hardware. These are the unsung necessities of offering our apps on Android. Meanwhile, Android sales amounted to around 5% of our revenue for the year, and continues to shrink. Needless to say, this ratio is unsustainable.

There has to be a success story for Android out there, right? Isn’t there a small company or an individual with a breakout game or app that’s made a ton of money?


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