This isn’t a review with. In fact it’s not a review at all. You can go to Gizmodo for that. This, for me, is about the answer to one simple question: if I want to play video games on my mobile phone, should I stick with Apple and the iPhone or should I make the move to Android?
For people who like video games, the iPhone/Android question is a complicated one. Most of us don’t buy mobile phones to play games specifically, but gaming has become such a massive part of the smart phone experience that it has to play a part in purchasing decisions.
Full disclosure: I’ve been rocking iPhones since the 3GS. I currently own a 4S. Recently I had my first experience with Android when I picked up a Nexus 7 — for my money the best small tablet on the market. I was blown away. Until that point the world of widgets, customisation and gosh darn flexibility was completely inaccessible to me. Building and creating my own home pages was a revelation. The ability to easily transfer and watch practically any kind of video content was mind blowing. Reading Manga, reading books, organising my life. Everything felt easier on Android. Far easier than I could have expected.
And yes — I even played video games.
Mainly Rayman: Jungle Run on my Nexus and a metric buttload of Ski Safari. They both looked incredible on Nexus 7’s top notch screen, so I felt happy with the whole situation. Until I had a quick conversation with a developer (who I will not name) regarding the upcoming release of his mobile game.
“I just downloaded your game on my Nexus 7, going to give it a bash.”
“Oh, you don’t have an iPad?”
“Nah, the Nexus destroys the iPad.”
“Well, we don’t really like Android that much.”
“Yeah, we had to remove a bunch of details from the Android version…”
I’d always just assumed that the prioritising of iOS development was purely an economical decision. Yes there are more Android phones on the market than iPhones, but the App Store and the closed nature of that marketplace makes iPhone development far more commercially viable than Android development. Particularly for bigger studios. But here I was being told that Apple’s mobile products were typically better for video games from a technological stand point.
I found this a little bothersome. If I wanted to play mobile games first (and at their optimum) I would have to go with Apple. I’d have to sacrifice my new found freedom, my widgets, my sweet layouts, mX Player, all my Manga Readers. Sure I could jailbreak my iPhone, but I don’t want to.
So now it’s time for me to upgrade my mobile phone. A couple of weeks back I had all but committed to picking up a HTC One. Now I’m holding an iPhone 5s in my hand and I’m swaying. iOS7 looks great. It seems like the most significant upgrade since… well, forever I’d argue. My fancy customised Nexus 7 home screen looks better, but this is… and improvement. It’s the significant improvement I’d been waiting years for. When the iPhone 5 came out I rolled my eyes. No matter how powerful it was under the hood it still looked and felt old fashioned. This new update cranks the experience up a notch.
I’d been sensing a momentum shift. Great phones like the Samsung S4, the Nexus 4 and the HTC One were seeping into public consciousness. It seemed like more and more people were making that shift. Part of me hoped that might allow for more game developers to prioritise Android over iOS, but this new 5s? It’s nice and shiny. It smashes all its competitors in most benchmarks. I think I’m about to make the wrong decision here.
I think I am about to become part of the problem.