We don’t always delve into mobile devices here. But as we move into an era in which mobile gaming is even more important (thanks largely to the rise of VR and AR), it seems a good time to look at the two main types of mobile operating system as they relate to gaming. Doing only a marginal amount of research into “iOS versus Android” for gaming will turn up a lot of articles and opinions suggesting the contest isn’t close. Generally speaking, the perception is that iOS is plainly superior. Rather than restate this popular opinion then, we thought we’d explore why it seems to be nearly universal.
iOS Wins The Frames-Per-Second Battle
We don’t always get into the specs like this where mobile gaming is concerned. Instead we focus on our phones’ processing power, displays, etc. But as an article back in 2016 pointed out, most games will only ever do a maximum of 60 fps, no matter how amazing a phone’s processing power might be. This is just the reality of mobile game design, and it means that when you see a phone’s power used to describe why it might be best for gaming, what you’re reading is at least mildly misleading. Furthermore, test comparisons have generally shown iOS providing more fps than even the best phones operating with Android, with the same game. This accounts for an almost imperceptible superior quality for iOS games.
iOS Is The Developer Priority
The same article that delved into the fps debate pointed out that the reason for the difference might simply be that most developers make games for iOS first, with Android as an afterthought. This is simply how the markets have shaped up, and with Android-specific design coming second, it stands to reason that most iOS titles would be a little bit more sophisticated and more impressive.
Android Doesn’t Own Casinos
If you pay close attention to mobile gaming, you might have the perception that at least in the vast and popular category of casino gaming, Android has an edge. This may be true in a sense just because of online gaming laws; with its range of providers and devices, Android is more international in a sense, and thus may cater more frequently to players in areas where casino gaming is legal. That said, there is plenty of support for iOS devices when it comes to casino gaming. Various slots, arcades, and other games in this category are specifically optimized for iOS, just as they are for Android, which makes this perceived edge for Android somewhat soft.
Development Is Easier On iOS
To some extent this speaks to why iOS is the developer priority, as mentioned above. But to go a little deeper, another article on this subject pointed out that iOS is probably supporting no more than five or six devices at any given point. That is to say, it’s limited to a fairly small number of active Apple products. By contrast, Android is on literally thousands of different devices around the world – meaning different specs, screen sizes, capabilities, etc. It’s simply easier for developers to make games that will be good on more standardized devices, and accept a few flaws on certain Android devices as a result.
Apple Cuts Its Own Path
Apple also retains an edge simply by doing things its own way. Case in point, Android has already been compatible with numerous VR and AR headsets and systems, to the point that when Google unveiled its own AR development platform (ARCore) it hardly seemed to make news. By contrast Apple had stayed out of things until it released its own ARkit, which became one of the biggest stories in tech. This is fairly typical for Apple, and it keeps iOS gaming edgy and forward-looking, rather than confused or overextended.