October 11, 2012

Android Gaming Is Rising

Once suffering from a paucity of gaming options, Android phone and tablet owners now have much better choices that eliminate the need for jealousy of iOS-toting friends.

Whether it is Angry Birds, Asphalt 7: Heat, Temple Run, Madden, or a number of other top titles, the landscape is much improved. Case in point: the excellent Wild Blood from Gameloft has already moved to Android just a couple of weeks after debuting on iOS. In the past that wait would have been much longer, if it would happen at all.

Google’s recent $0.25 sale to celebrate the 25 billionth app download was another showcase of some of the better games: users were able to grab excellent titles like World of Goo, FIFA 12, and Order and Chaos Online.

There are, of course, exceptions. Contre Jour HD is one of the best-looking games I have played, and it’s iOS only. The Room is an intricate puzzle game for the iPad; it looks like that is where it is going to stay.

It has not always been easy to develop for Android with the wide array of devices and versions of the operating system out there. But devices like the Nexus 7 are helping to change this: developers can build one app that will work well on the seven-inch tablet form factor as well as high-end phones.

I found an unforseen benefit in the Nexus 7: it is excellent for gaming comfortably. It fits great in the hand for horizontal games that require virtual trackpads and buttons, much like FIFA or Madden. I found it a much better experience to play such games on the Nexus 7 as opposed to the iPad, which can get tricky to grip after some time.

If gaming is the top concern when it comes to picking a phone or tablet then you are probably still better off going for an iPhone or iPad. There are enough iOS-only games and a more mature developer community to still keep it on top. But unless you are going to be overcome with jealousy when that occasional exclusive title drops, gaming options should no longer hold someone back who is tempted to go with an Android device.


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