Skip to content

How birds (angry ones) highlight Microsoft’s dilemma

How is it that the world’s most successful mobile application developer refused to support Windows Mobile for their new game? Seriously, if you have sold +800m copies of an app, you would have money to port an app which is far from the most complex around? Well, Finnish mobile publisher turned brand builder went from saying that supporting a Windows Mobile version of the new Angry Birds Space version was too hard to that it is in development. I would suspect Finnish neighbor Nokia was not pleased and had a word or two with Rovio.

If the world’s most successful mobile developer “struggle” supporting cross platform development, how will smaller developers do? And what does this really mean for tier 2 OS manufacturers? Clearly this underlines not only a strong need for cross platform tools (CPT),  but that eco system players need to find out how to entice their developers to increase the number of supported platforms – and not to trade one off for the other because that will be a losing battle for the smaller players. I do not subscribe to that trying to buy apps is the answer either.

CEO of mobile developer InRuntime said in the Vision Mobile report ‘Cross Platform Developer Tools‘ that CPTs can even help if the focus is narrow: “We have found that by using cross-platform tools our time to market is reduced by 70% on average. We choose cross-platform tools even if we need to build a single application for a single platform” – thereby highlighting the potential growth of the CTP space.

But platform support is not everything. As a developer, the problem of app discovery remains an ever increasing headache. To mitigate this, developers need to be on more platforms, more handsets and more app stores. Developers need to start thinking about how to promote their apps as well, and to set aside budgets for promotion. Vision Mobile really misses the point in their otherwise excellent report when they state that one of the key advantages of hybrid tools (wrapper based apps) is that it creates an app and hence can be dropped in an app store for distribution. The problem is that app store presence alone is no guarantee for revenues, especially if a developer focuses only on the top two.  As developers you need to start by being in more app stores, then you need to consider supporting more languages (at least in your marketing descriptions) – which again expands your universe of app stores – and then you need to look at doing your own promotion and marketing.

CTPs do not solve other aspects of fragmentation, which HandyGames Christopher Kassulke labels “4D fragmentation” –  that developers now have to deal with fragmentation across software platforms, billing platforms (and pricing models), advertising platforms and social platforms. Actually Christopher forgot a few, such as language differences, reporting and analytics tools, marketing tools… and probably a few more dimensions I can’t think of right this moment. There are huge untapped potential beyond Android and iOS, beyond iTunes and Google Play, and beyond the English speaking world. For developers this means the future is bright, albeit with many hurdles to overcome in the foreseeable future.

Posted in Mobile Entertainment, The Business of Mobile.

Tagged with , , , .