ngmoco: Android development like going back to PC
Handsets in a "very, very immature market" says producer; more analytic data needed from Google
ngmoco's push onto Android platforms is being challenged by multiple hardware and software choices, a lack of analytics feedback and problems with discoverability on the mobile store.
That's according to Caryl Shaw, executive producer for ngmoco, who said today at GDC that working on Android systems was akin to PC game development, compared to iOS's console-like ease.
"We're still spending a lot of time looking at how we develop games. Really the next thing for us is thinking about how we're going to bring the energy to Android products. We're really starting to work in earnest on Android now with ngCore, which is our new game engine that we're working on," she told attendees.
"The things that we find is device compatibility is really challenging on Android. Mostly I feel like we're actually going back to doing PC development because there's so many different types of hardware, there's so many different software operating systems on all the different Android devices that our testing matrix is crazy-huge. I feel like I went to console development when I went to iOS with iPhone and iPad both running the same iOS. Android much more challenging that way.
"Every time I pick up a different Android device they all use the back button differently, I'm very confused by it. So that's been more complex, definitely more challenging. It's something we should be getting educated about now," she said.
While ngmoco has been able to carve a lucrative path on iOS devices by releasing freemium games, it's now looking to Android to continue growth in mobile.
Shaw detailed the scale of which it uses analytics to improve games once they're live, turning data in the first updates for titles within a couple of days of release and pushing out new content based on consumer habits two or three times per week.
But this is proving tricky for the company on Android, with Shaw also highlighting the problem of users discovering a game on a crowded app store.
"Discoverability on the Android store is really tough, that's something that's going to be evolving. I'd imagine that's like the App Store was a couple of years ago. It's a very, very young, immature market right now.
"And getting analytics is more challenging," she added. "We have a lot of analytics that we build into our games - there doesn't seem to be a lot that I get out of Google's dev portal. That's definitely still a quite challenging area for us. There's a lot of learning that's still to be done."