Tadej Gregorčič ~ software and game developer ~ personal website
February 25, 2008
Mobile Apps – The Shit Hits The Fan
Mobile application development is finally going where it belongs – six feet under.
For years now, the mobile phone industry has been evolving into an unmanageable stinking blob.
A plethora of incompatible platforms, each of them with its own set of unsolvable issues, hilarious hardware combinations (e.g. the absence of bluetooth on teenager phones to suit the SMS content sales, phones with radio that only works with special headphones, etc.), all kinds of different artificial market barriers, etc.
“A platform that is technically flawed but has a good business model will always beat a platform that is elegant but has a poor business model.”
“But we never figured out how to help developers make money. In fact, we paired our elegant platforms with a developer business model so deeply broken that it would take many years, and enormous political battles throughout the industry, to fix it — if it can ever be fixed at all.”
So if you now go out and develop a killer mobile game that you want to bring to the global market space, you have to:
Support all kinds of platforms (just “using JAVA” doesn’t solve the problem)
Test the product on all of them (which means getting the actual phones, emulators do only half the trick)
Get the app certified with the platform providers
Get the app certified with the networks
Actually sell the stuff
So … we’ve grown quite allergic to the term platform-specific in the last couple of years.
Meanwhile, there is now an alternative platform for mobile developers. It’s horribly flawed technically, not at all optimized for mobile usage, and in fact was designed for a completely different form of computing. It would be hard to create a computing architecture more inappropriate for use over a cellular data network. But it has a business model that sweeps away all of the barriers in the mobile market. Mobile developers are starting to switch to it, a trickle that is soon going to grow. And this time I think the flash flood will last.
There are of course still issues with flat data rate costs and GPRS/UMTS/HSDPA network coverage that are holding back the proliferation of mobile web apps, but I’d say it’s damn worth the wait and/or potential aggravation.
Want to start developing your game for mobiles? Use Flash.