Putting a game on iOS and Android 'feels like a lottery' for many developers

Mobile intimidating for indies, says Spelunky dev

Developing games for mobile can be a scary proposition for indie developers, the creator of Spelunky has said.

Speaking to Games Industry, Derek Yu said the App Store and Google Play had become a tough place for many developers, given the number of games on the stores.

He said that the platform had become an intimidating place for indies looking to create ‘non-mobile’ style games for iOS and Android, and it was difficult to judge what can succeed and what won’t. He suggested that for many indies, developing for mobile felt like a lottery.

"I think it’s tough because that market does have so many games that are there to be cheap entertainment and make a lot of money," said Yu.

"That’s just a difficult place to be for a developer who wants to make essentially a non-mobile style game for a mobile platform. It’s just kind of intimidating. It’s a very finicky business, too, in terms of what succeeds and what doesn’t. For a lot of developers, putting games on iOS and mobile feels like a lottery, and that’s a real unstable feeling that’s hard for developers."

Yu went on to say that developers could “completely tank” on mobile if their game didn’t catch consumer interest, but believes the same isn’t necessarily true for games released on PC or console, with developers likely to at least get back their investment if they spent a couple years on their titles.

"If you spend a couple years on it, you’re going to at least get back what you put in."

As well as working on platformer Spelunky for console and PC, Yu has previously worked on titles such as action adventure games Aquaria and Eternal Daughter.

Although the issue discoverability has proven an increasingly difficult proposition for many developers on iOS and Android, a number of studios have managed to break out and obtain huge earnings through the platforms.

Clash of Clans and Hay Day developer Supercell is believed to be raking in more than $1 million a day from the two titles, and is said to be worth around $800 million after a recent successful funding round for the studio.

GungHo meanwhile is estimated to be generating $2 million a day from free-to-play title Puzzle & Dragons.

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