Is there a Future for Gaming on Android?


Gaming has always been Apple’s stronger face for iOS and this is a fact. Those of you who own Apple Macs will noticed that most of the entry level hardware is unsuitable for gaming as it lacks the necessary graphics card to do the heavy lifting. But on Apple iPads and iPhones, it rocks. There are more games on the appstore than there is on the Google Playstore and what’s more, the best games often make their debut on iOS before making it to Android.

At CES 2013, two new android devices were announced, one by Nvdia called Project Shield and the other by Archos with the GamePad moniker. Both have uninspiring names—which leads me to think that they weren’t very inspired in developing the devices. So what’s going on? Are these doomed to fail?

Apple’s gaming suit shines brighter for many reasons. Standard hardware is one feature though the platform is fragmented now thanks largely to the differing display sizes but this hasn’t really stopped people from gaming on the iPad Mini or the iPhone 5.

Personally I think Archos’ GamePad might have a better run than Nvidia for one simple reason. Price. At $169, it offers a good price point for people to take up mobile gaming on Android compared with Sony’s overpriced PS Vita. In fact, the Archos GamePad offers an even better entry to mobile gaming to Apple’s own iPod Touch 5G, which retails at $299.

Chicken or Egg?

Now here is the question that everyone wants answers to. Will the GamePad be successful enough to take Android gaming to a new level? Face with the prospect of a rather poor list of games from Google’s Playstore, the success of gaming on Android remains to be seen.

Sales are poor due to the nature of the Android system that allows root access and pirated games to be downloaded and run without a hitch. Developers who make games are not going to pour in the cash needed to develop great games unless there is a verified based of consumers who own a GamePad. Heck, would you like to make a game and have downloads of 100K just coz you had a $1.99 price tag? How abou the ugly comments and reviews you read online? This will definitely affect the purchase decisions.

What Archos needs to do is offer up an Appstore of its own where the games itself are certified to run on the GamePad. Gamers are always looking for that killer app (the one must have game) to justify buying he hardware and not the other way around and we are not talking Angry Birds here.

The GamePad has to appeal to the very segment of consumers who buy and use the PSP and PS Vita—hardcore gamers. Unless and until this happens, gaming on Android will be relatively pedestrian.

Even now, the number of hardware controller add-ons to turn your Android tablet or phone into a hardcore gaming platform hasn’t quite hit the mark. Jellybean has that capability built into its core but with only a 20 percent take up rate so far (Jan 2013), it has a long way to go before such game controllers will be standardized.

So if I were you. I’d do what I did when the PS Vita was released and that is to wait and evaluate the software before the hardware. The last thing you’d want to buy is an Archos GamePad in which you’d use to call home.