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Here’s Why Most Android Games are Free and iOS Games Pay to Play

By Muhammad Bilal Syahrir

We learned from a developer that just released its game on iOS for a couple bucks, and is planning to release it for free on Android.


Ever wondered why most Android games are free and iOS games are pay-to-play? This article breaks down the reasons from a very reliable source. Curious to know the answer?

It’s often we see a big title that is pay to play on iOS, but free to play (but includes in-app purchases) on Android. Ryan Cash, creative director of Team Alto tried to explain the reason behind this.

Cash and his team just released their newest game called Alto’s Odyssey. Their previous game, Alto’s Adventure is an iOS premium game and landed on top of the App Store chart around the world.

However, their newest game not only will be available for Android but also it is free to play. So, what’s the reason behind this? Why not just make the game pay to play on Play Store just like in the App Store?

Worth noting, for now, only the iOS version is available and the Android version will release in a further time.

Cash stated that the major reason is that he heard from Android game developers that the revenue these developers receive is way less compared to iOS. Revenues that come from Android are around 5-15%, at the very best 30%. The rest of the revenue comes from their games on iOS.

The major reason as to why the revenue is so thin on Android is that because of one word: Piracy. Piracy, jailbreak, or APK is something that violates gaming regulation and the reason why game developers are not receiving the money they should be receiving.

Why Most Android Games are Free and iOS Games Pay to Play

Android platform is way easier to hack than iOS platform. This is the reason why we see games on Android that are mostly free to play.

So for game developers out there, it might be a good idea to invest quite a bit on iOS if you want your game to be fully paid with no in-app purchases.

In 2020, 50% of Global Games Market Will be from Mobile Games

Mobile games will further dominate in terms of revenue streams, and the total global games market is catching up to "real" sports business.

But, this might seem to be a dilemma for Indonesian developers because most Indonesian gamers use Android as their platform rather than iOS. But it’s good to know why a successful developer implements this strategy.

Source: Gamasutra, Ars Technica. Edited by Devi

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About Writter


A freelance journalist for games and gadget for Game Prime, Duniaku.net, and also Teknosaurus.