Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Was making money harder then or now? [Android]

I'm at that common stage of Android development where I'm wondering what my next project should be.  I'm tempted to do something in 3D, but it always turns into a maths nightmare.  Note to self: Don't do it!

I've recently finished my last app, a platformer called "Ninja!".  It's pretty good, and I might use the engine for something a little more complex - I'm thinking a Bladerunner-y / Judge Dredd.  However, I am put off by the sheer number of other platform games available on Android (not that the platform genre is any more saturated than any other genre on Android).  Who would even notice my game?  I guess that's why marketing is so important on Android now, probably more so than the programming.

But then I look back to the golden age of gaming (in Thatcher's Britain anyway): the mid-80's, when it was predominatly the Spectrum that everyone played on (and maybe the C64 if desperate).  How do conditions now compare to then?  There may be thousands of platform games available for Android, but there are also millions of users playing them.  What was it like in the 80's?  According to Wikipedia, 5 million Spectrums were sold and 24,000 programs were released.  According to some random website I found after Googling, there are 295 million Android phones and 460,000 Android apps.  Despite the fact that these numbers are untrustworthy and vague, lets work out the average:-

5,000,000 devices and 24,000 programs = 208 customers per program.

295,000,000 devices and 460,000 apps = 641 customers per app.

So it seems that despite the competition, we've got it over 3 times better than they did in the 80's.  Still, it doesn't seem like it.  Maybe I should stop programming and do marketing for the time being.