The multidimensional and colorful world of mobile games has two major ports with their own ships and their own rules. In everyday life, we talk about them as iOS vs Android development. A certain systematic architecture cannot balance completely different approaches to development, design, maintenance and subsequent marketing activities.

If you have made a decision to create a mobile game, then you probably know that mobile traffic currently rules the world. As of December 2020, mobile devices account for almost 56% of all Internet traffic in the world, while desktop computers account for just over 41%. But if you are here, then you are not quite sure which development platform to choose. No problem, because we have gathered here for a reason.

Let’s figure out what is the difference between iOS and Android development and which platform is better to choose for your mobile game.

What Is the Difference? iOS vs Android Development

The key difference lies in the very name of this so-called confrontation.

Development of Android games means the process of creating entertainment products for devices operating on the Android operating base. It was originally developed by Android, which was later acquired by the American multinational Google. It is based on Linux and Google’s own implementation of the Java virtual machine. Android is a free operating system, which is why most smartphone manufacturers use it.

IOS game development means the process of creating entertainment products for devices running the iOS operating system. The developer of the system is the American corporation Apple, which also develops all devices that support iOS. This is a closed ecosystem into which an outsider cannot penetrate.

Business Side of iOS vs Android App Development

When planning to create a game, you probably want it to be not only interesting for the players, but also profitable for you. That is why, when choosing a platform, it is necessary to take into account the statistical results of market research regarding the strengths and weaknesses of each of the platforms. Here’s what we have at the moment.

Market Share

The first observations of market share clearly demonstrate that the number of Android devices significantly exceeds that of iOS alone. Manufacturers are competing with each other to add as much functionality to the smartphone as possible and at the same time make it even cheaper. Due to this, in terms of quantity, Android unconditionally surpasses iOS, and this is confirmed by the Statcounter study: almost 76% versus 19% speak for themselves.

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But wait, it’s too early to draw any conclusions about iOS vs Android development choice.

Platform Revenue

It would seem that more users equate to more income. And here lies an insidious mistake.

The App Store has been ahead of Google Play for many years. The same thing happened in 2020. The first half of the year showed the full power of the App Store, which brought in $ 32.8 billion spent by players on subscriptions, in-game purchases and premium apps versus the $ 17.3 billion generated by Google Play.

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Number of Downloads

If iOS has more profit, then more downloads? Nothing of the sort! Don’t forget the number of Android devices on the market. Android significantly outperforms iOS in terms of downloads and mostly generates its revenue through advertising. A large number of downloads guarantees a large number of ad demonstrations and profit from them.

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Technical Side of Android vs iPhone Development

The technical side plays an important role when choosing a platform. Having understood the specifics of development for each of them, you can decide which one is more preferable for you in terms of cost and simplicity.

Programming Language

Android vs iOS development is very different in technical terms. Android has an open-source code, so it can be easily adapted for thousands of different devices. The iOS code is closed and works only on Apple devices.

Android favors Java and sometimes Kotlin, while iOS has retained the right to exclusivity here too: applications for it can only be written in the Swift language specially created for it. Until it was widely adopted, iOS programmers used the compiled object-oriented programming language Objective-C.

Is iOS development easier than Android? Novice programmers agree that learning Swift is much easier and faster than mastering Java, so they often join the teams of their iOS colleagues. However, the increasing adoption of Kotlin may make a difference: it is expected to soon replace Java due to its simplicity, intuitiveness, and ease of readability.

Integrated Development Environment

Here we are talking about a set of software tools used by programmers to develop software. It also differs when developing for Android or iOS.

For Android, the free Eclipse used to be the most popular medium. For a long time it was considered the main one, actively developed and acquired a huge army of fans among programmers. The company’s developers have regularly improved Eclipse, releasing updates, creating new tools and introducing features that are useful for programmers. In this environment, you can connect additional modules to expand its functionality.

Now a relatively new IDE Android Studio created by Google in 2013 is worthy of its competition. This program for developing a mobile application supports several programming languages, including C/C++ and Java, has a built-in emulator and a large library with all kinds of templates and components that greatly simplify and speed up the app development process. Android Studio can work on almost any device without restrictions.

For iOS, developers also rely on Apple’s own invention, Xcode. It is an integrated software development environment for OS X and iOS that has a user-friendly interface, autocomplete support, and many other features that make Swift development easier. You need to understand that Xcode only works on MacBooks, so be sure to consider this when choosing a platform.

Interestingly, despite the most diverse opinions and the presence of supporters of both Android Studio and Xcode, the former still wins the race of developer preferences. Perhaps this is due to the greater number of Android developers, or maybe objective reasons also influenced the final verdict. Programmers often complain about the instability of Xcode, the inability to run multiple simulators at the same time, and problems with documentation. And while Android Studio is often accused of being slow and sluggish, it is stable and has no documentation gaps.

Development Speed

Obviously, development on iOS is much faster due to testing: a limited number of exclusively Apple devices makes this process much faster.

It’s not that simple with Android games. There are a lot of device manufacturers working with Android, and this should be taken into account during testing. Usually, several different devices are taken at once from the most modern and from the older ones. After fixing the bugs, the game should be tested again on all these devices. Since skipping the testing phase equates to suicide, you must immediately take into account the duration of this stage when developing games for Android.

But that’s not all. Development for Android takes much longer for a number of reasons. Let’s list them along with what has already been stated above for a better understanding:

  1. More code. Java is not as concise as Swift or Objective-C. Its verbosity means more hours of work and more work for testers to find bugs.
  2. Slow emulators. The best Android emulators are much slower than simulators for iOS.
  3. Fragmentation. It is necessary to test a huge number of devices, and the error can be found even on the most seedy Chinese smartphone, which is sold only in Latvia.
  4. XML layout. The programmer often has to build the layout manually using Android’s XML vocabulary as opposed to the WYSIWYG methods common for iOS.

Due to all this, Android developers often need 30-40% more time to create a mobile game application than the creators of the iOS option. For example, if we estimate the creation time of a game application for iOS at 700 hours (a little over 4 months), then for Android we will estimate the creation of the same game and charge it at about 900 hours (5.5 months).

Development Cost

There is no escape from the question that interests everyone. There are different nuances here that are worth noting.

There are purely hardware costs that you have to face in iOS development. We have already said that Android Studio installs perfectly on any computer with any pen system, whereas Xcode only requires a MacBook. Accordingly, you have to provide your programmers with modern MacBooks. It will cost you a pretty penny. Also in some regions of the world, iOS developers receive a slightly higher salary due to the increased requirements for iOS games in the App Store. Integration of payment systems and specific administrative panels requires increased attention, while Android development is more flexible and customizable.

On the other hand, we have also mentioned some of the awkwardness of developing for Android due to the need to take into account the technical features of various devices. It is also much slower than that for iOS. More development time means more pay for developers.

The hourly rate for developers varies by region. The highest are in the US and UK, the lowest – in India. 

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  • The average salary for iOS developer vs Android developer in the US is roughly the same at $ 120,000. This indicates that both types of expertise are in demand on the market.
  • In the UK, there is a slight bias towards prioritizing Android developers: here they receive $ 75,000 a year versus $ 70,000 for their iOS counterparts.
  • India, on the other hand, values ​​iOS experts more, paying them $ 4800 a year, while Android experts are content with $ 4200.
  • Ukrainian iOS and Android developers are paid $ 35,000 and $ 30,000 a year, respectively.

However, in general, we see that the difference in salaries for specialists who are engaged in Android and iPhone app development does not differ much around the world.

The Average Annual Salary of Android and iOS Developers


AndroidiOS
US$ 120,000$ 120,000
UK$ 75,000$ 70,000
Ukraine$ 30,000$ 35,000
India$ 4200$ 4800

Considering the above, we can see that the cost of the iOS app vs Android app may be higher for both the first and the second option, depending on the region where you hire developers, their qualifications and the amount of time spent on creating the game app.

Publishing a Game in the Store

Let’s imagine that our game is ready. It’s time to show it to the world and publish it on Google Play for Android or App Store for iOS. To do this, you need to purchase a developer account. And here the shops show their smiles in all their glory.

Google Play asks for a fairly modest one-time payment for lifetime access to your account, without making any particularly serious requirements or putting forward restrictions. In a few hours, you will be able to see your game in the store. Feel free to update or beta test it.

If you like a sharper experience, then iOS can satisfy your whims. First off, an App Store subscription costs $ 99 per year. Secondly, the process of approving a game and even updating it is very lengthy and meticulous. You will definitely have to wait at least two days. At the same time, you can easily be refused if you have broken even one of the smallest rules of the store. To succeed, you need to thoroughly study these rules and always take into account the comments of the reviewers if they have already rejected your game.

In this regard, Google Play is much more human-centered and loyal. It also allows the publisher to retain all revenue from in-app purchases, as opposed to iOS, which charges a 30% fee. By the way, this fee became one of the main reasons why Epic Game entered into a confrontation with Apple. Another thing is that Apple users are often more financially stable people and more inclined to make in-game purchases. It is because of this that the App Store has a much higher income, even despite a relatively small market share.

We’ve analyzed the average cost of mobile games by type and complexity in our article on mobile development cost: check it if you are interested in specific numbers.

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Preliminary Conclusion

What to do if at this stage it is still not clear which is better to choose – iOS or Android development? Do not worry, there is another way to form a clearer vector of your further actions. Each platform has a more or less specific target audience. Therefore, when deciding between ios app vs android app, pay attention to its geography and interests.

Portrait of the Average iOS User

People who prefer iOS:

  • most live in North America, Western Europe and Australia;
  • are financially secure;
  • are more likely to make in-app purchases.

If you rely on in-app purchases to monetize your game, then you definitely need iOS development.

Portrait of the Average Android User

People who prefer Android:

  • most live in Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and South America;
  • are more loyal to different types of advertising in games;
  • are sensitive to price and its relation to quality.

If your monetization strategy is displaying advertisements, then your choice is development for Android.

Android vs iOS Game Development: Pros and Cons of Platforms

  Pros Cons
Android ✔ More users and downloads
✔ Fast publishing and less restrictions
✔ Effective monetization through advertising
✘ Longer development time
✘ Lower average revenue
✘ More possible bugs
iOS ✔ Higher average revenue
✔ Faster development
✔ Fewer possible bugs
✘ Two times fewer users
✘ Long publishing with many restrictions
✘ The need to buy special hardware

Final Conclusion

Mobile games will remain our loyal friends in 2021 even after the end of the pandemic. Fun in your pocket is always relevant, so if you’re planning on making a game, it’s a great idea anyway. Another thing is how to do this so that you do not waste money and time, and your game attracts the attention of fastidious players.

Development of Android apps vs Apple apps has its advantages and nuances depending on your goals, audience and monetization options that you intend to implement. And we are ready to become your guide in the world of mobile game creation.

All projects implemented by Kevuru Games have shown excellent downloads and user retention rates. We work both with Android and iOS separately, and with cross-platform development, which allows us to cover the entire pool of players and not miss the opportunity to increase the number of downloads and, accordingly, income.

Jump into our portfolio to make sure of our expertise and do not waste time: we are always determined to create only outstanding products.