Gameloft Slowly Un-Embracing Android

gameloftGameloft, a major gaming developer, has started to pull back on their plans for Android.  The two reasons are potential revenue and adoption of the platform

“We have significantly cut our investment in Android platform, just like … many others,” Gameloft finance director Alexandre de Rochefort.  “It is not as neatly done as on the iPhone. Google has not been very good to entice customers to actually buy products.   On Android nobody is making significant revenue.”

Aside from Android, Gameloft also develops Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, Wii, Xbox 360, iPod, iPhone OS, and of course, Windows PCs. Some of their hits include Assassin’s Creed, the Prince of Persia series, and a handful of Tom Clancy (Splinter Cell) titles.

You Tell Us

Are they wise to scale back on Android or do you think are underestimating its potential?  Does it make sense to put more eggs in the iPhone basket at this time?  Does the burden fall on Google to “entice” people to buy?

About author

Scott Webster
Scott Webster 6615 posts

Scott has been running AndroidGuys since 2007 and loves nothing more than reading up on the latest smartphone rumors. His other mobile efforts can be found on Android Update (CNET) where he covers Google's mobile platform.

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58 Comments

  1. MaggieL
    November 20, 14:30 Reply

    Well, with the iPhone you have a market of people pre-qualified to impulsively overspend on tech. Android users have already demonstrated they are more thoughtful and careful how they spend their money.

    If you're not making money on your Android games, maybe you need to look at product quality and your price-point.

    It's certainly not Google's job to market your product for you.

    • Jesse
      February 02, 17:25 Reply

      I find your insinuation that iOS users aren’t as thrifty or in the know as android users insulting.

      call me when you get UI acceleration,
      real softphones (that connect to cisco call manager, since that’s all that matters for anyone’s work)
      a copy of webex
      a way to view my company’s backups
      real games for my commute.

      until then, enjoy stuttering your way to the reply button.

      /uses both platforms, cant’ stand platform bigots
      //save our GPUs honeycomb!

  2. @le3ky
    November 20, 14:30 Reply

    I have to laugh. Android has only just hit its first real stable release, and they are already pulling out? Android adoption has increased by more than iPhone adoption in the past 12 months.

    To be honest, i am almost certain i know what the real reason is, they make terrible games for the android system, and have recieved terrible feedback in response. No one wants to buy the android games because they are so bad.

    No wonder they haven't made any money from it.

    • XxPhantomSoulxX
      November 20, 20:02 Reply

      I completely agree, the quality of the games they've already developed for Android, are mediocre at best! They graphics and playability are both so horrible. It's almost as if we're getting the same games as non-smart phone users are receiving.

      With the release of the Moto Droid, Android is now running and performing beautifully as it was meant to. The Droid is actually more powerful than the iPhone and almost all other smart phones in the US. Plus, with Android 2.0 being released, we are now seeing just how powerful Android truly is.

      And this is just the beginning, Android has the potential to topple the competition and in my personal opinion it already has!!!

      XxPhantomSoulxX

  3. anonymous
    November 20, 14:30 Reply

    gameloft anly produces crappy ports… who cares about them

  4. @imse4n
    November 20, 14:35 Reply

    This new mentality of "its someone else's fault" in the tech industry is becoming annoying. Gameloft, own up to the products you make and stand behind them as quality products… or not. But don't blame someone else for your failure to generate revenue.

  5. mmark27
    November 20, 14:38 Reply

    I think that iphone fanboys must be pushing these developers for sound bites and reactions now because they know that Android is a storm that will overtake them and the world. By pushing as much bad press for Android as they can, apple looks even stronger. Basically, here's a tip for developers, make a good game, drop tips to websites like this and it will get press. If you make a shittaskic game, of course it won't sell. Harware will out pace the iphone on all Android models very soon. Even the Hero can still run a lot of these games well, the processor isn't as bad as everyone says.

  6. hetal Patel
    November 20, 14:45 Reply

    Who cares for Games! Basically I want a Phone which me More of Me and Less of Steve Job, Open Source Less Jail and More Open. Fast Enough! with Google Clouds

    Apple Charges $ 9 for Mobile.Me ID a Month and Gmail is 500% more of Mobile Me with Free.

    I may be a Nut to Choose Apple Here. O love Android

  7. Hetal Patel
    November 20, 14:47 Reply

    Making Games on iPhone is easy as it have Objective C and Truly Direct Programming Model, Very Very Standard Screen Size and hardware so no Compatibility Issue and ofcourse

    " people pre-qualified to impulsively overspend on tech "

  8. Merago
    November 20, 14:47 Reply

    Whilst I agree that their games are, for the most part, rank, this isn't good news for the platform as a whole and highlights the continued complaints from a number of developers, both independents and software companies, that the Android Market simply isn't good enough. Application visibility in a cluttered market, ease of software piracy and payment issues are all problems that have existed for quite some time now. These need to be addressed. We need developers to see the Android Market as a place where they can make money, or else they'll turn their attentions elsewhere.

  9. Sean Martin
    November 20, 15:28 Reply

    Oh, they'll be back…*insert manical laughter*

  10. patsy
    November 20, 15:33 Reply

    I think there's definitely a point in that Apple fans in general are much more likely to drop coin on stuff in general, so from a purely marketing perspective they may be right in focusing on that platform. OTOH I think a useful and well designed app will attract buyers even on Android. The two main apps I've spent money on are TouchDown and Documents To Go, and I would buy them again in a heartbeat just because they are so incredibly useful. I'm sure I'm not alone in that regard.

  11. Derek
    November 20, 15:39 Reply

    I'd say it's a bad decision on their part.

    On the one hand, as a game developer I'd be happy with the reduction in competition. But I'd also agree with Merago that it's not good perception-wise.

    Right now seems like an especially strange time to pull the plug. I'm seeing very nice growth over the past month, presumably due to the most recent market upgrades and the heavy marketing and sales of the Droid. Since Gameloft games like Uno are prominently featured on the market home screen, I find it hard to believe they are not also seeing significant gains due to the influx of new users. I don't know if they were expecting iPhone numbers in a market currently a tenth of the size. Seems shortsighted and unrealistic.

  12. musta
    November 20, 15:50 Reply

    Gameloft on android = terrible ported games + high price + no demo

    What they should expect?

  13. ben
    November 20, 16:01 Reply

    You know what would be cool? If a developer created an original game for Android, something that hasn't already been made for the iPhone or PSP or whatever, and it was so good, and generated so much buzz, that people were actually buying an Android device just so they can play that game. That's what Gameloft needs to be aiming for, not porting their crappy iPhone games to Android. Sure, there's always going to be people who want Tetris or Bejeweled on Android (and that's already available), but gaming on the Android platform will take off when there are some really great original games out there for it.

  14. jeremy
    November 20, 11:20 Reply

    I was excited to see gameloft was making games when I first got my g1. WAS….. until I saw what they had to offer…. crappy unstable games. I agree with others here. I won’t buy a game unless it is worth it. Gameloft has none. Let them miss out. They make crappy games and overprice them.

  15. John
    November 20, 16:26 Reply

    The reason they are pulling out is because they thought android owners would go and buy their games without checking them first. Well i have checked them out, most of them and they are actually not designed to be used on android. Just ported them and thats it. One example is the game catchphrase. I cannot even push the buttons, because they are so small. If i had a pointer pen like winmo maybe. Their games are not designed for android!

  16. unknown
    November 20, 16:36 Reply

    +1 ben.

    Gameloft is full of fail with their sub standard remakes of games. I for one won't miss them. I'm hoping more bedroom coders/small companies embrace android with imaginative applications and games rather than seeing Tom Clancy's Rainbow 12 2d remake v2 special edition shite.

  17. UncleMatt
    November 20, 11:37 Reply

    I may be in the minority, but I don’t really care about games. Unlike the PC market of oh… say… the 90’s, platforms no longer depend on games for entrenchment. I say good riddance. First and foremost I want a communication device. iPhone’s ability to keep me connected to Gmail and GTalk (any type of push, really) was/is abysmal. It’s the reason I’ve switched to Android, and the reason I’m very happy now.

    Don’t let the screen door hit you on the way out.

  18. Alex Danvy
    November 20, 16:39 Reply

    I have no more room on my device (HTC Hero) to install any application without uninstall one before. I'd like to buy apps, but I can't…

    • ambarish
      November 20, 18:10 Reply

      Hi Alex,
      If you have the time and desire, get a rooted OS. I am on CyanogenMod and have stopped needing to worry about how many apps I have on my phone. The phone is also faster (or so others say – since I haven't played with a regular G1 ever since I got my rooted phone)

  19. Ryan
    November 20, 17:24 Reply

    I think its because there are few Android phones at present.As Android platform will become more popular more game publishers will be interested.After all there are so many great games available for iphone.

  20. chuksy
    November 20, 17:37 Reply

    Not to worry i can assure you they'll come crawling back soon. Am sure they've never heard of the saying: Patience is a virtue. They want to make millions in overnight.

  21. Jeroen
    November 20, 17:55 Reply

    Maybe Gameloft should have taken a real effort by creating products tailored to the platform and not just release lame overpriced ports of their Java based crap.

  22. ari-free
    November 20, 17:58 Reply

    I think games are important but we need phones with better controls. I want a phone with a g1 style trackball/keyboard but with some really good specs. Google has to push for this. I get the feeling they are too laid back when it comes to android.

  23. Brad
    November 20, 18:04 Reply

    Hmmmm, let's see, they just put out the perennial classic Uno (real creative). Not only does it cost too much, the app requires something like 5 megabytes of space! For a stupid card game! Hardly any apps I've downloaded, games or otherwise, required more than 1 or 2 MB. I mean it wouldn't matter if I could install it on the SD card, but I can't. I have to use the pathetic limited flash RAM that comes in my Hero. How come I can buy a thumb drive with gobs of storage for like $20 and they can't put more than a paltry pitiful 100-200 MB space in these phones?!

    And who cares about games anyway? I used to like to play Monopoly once in a while on my Samsung Instinct if I had to wait somewhere, so I bought the port for Android. Wow, the implementation and performance on what should be a much nicer phone is totally sub-par. I think the only game I care to play anyway is the Solitaire game I got for free on the marketplace. Seeya Gameloft, you won't be missed.

  24. Herbert
    November 20, 18:13 Reply

    I think it is slightly concerning they're cutting back. It's not just because they aren't making any huge profits but they must know that no-one else is either. And they're fully aware that most of SonyEricssons roadmap for 2010 is all Android, likewise for Motorola and most of the others, except Nokia obviously. It suggests that Android still isn't fully there yet. It will snowball and dominate but the Android Market urgently needs to be shaken-up to make that snowball happen.

  25. Sean
    November 20, 18:14 Reply

    Gameloft's games are total garbage. Have you even seen their games on Droid? I couldn't get those refunds fast enough.

  26. ambarish
    November 20, 18:15 Reply

    I suspect Android is still mainly used by hackers/developers – who, like me, are cheapskates. Not by the unwashed masses. I expect Google to do more work in cleaning up the UI. Also, as more manufacturers start making Android devices, we will start seeing smartphone prices drop quite nicely, so Android will attract more regular users (who can't/won't spend big bucks on the iPhone).
    That is when I would expect the paid apps to start seeing much greater adoption.

  27. ambarish
    November 20, 18:41 Reply

    I suspect Android is still mainly used by hackers/developers – who, like me, are cheapskates. Not by the unwashed masses. I expect Google to do more work in cleaning up the UI. Also, as more manufacturers start making Android devices, we will start seeing smartphone prices drop quite nicely, so Android will attract more regular users (who can't/won't spend big bucks on the iPhone).

  28. anonymous
    November 20, 19:00 Reply

    Hmm, perhaps they need to examine the facts before pulling back. Android phones have been on the marked for about one year and one week. iPhones have been on the market for several years now. everything Android does is open sourced, so theres bound to be variations. everything the iPhone does is closed source, so of course its going to be a neater packgae because nobody can mess with it. Android users have the ability to get thousands of FREE applications and there is no rejection from the market. iPhone users only get to have what apple wants them to have and they get to pay a premium for it, but it's ok because iPhone users are mindless consumer whores who buy into a trendy product because "apple made it and apple is cool".

    So sure, go ahead and market your products to the iPhone only. Android users are SMART, and as someone said earlier, if nobody is making money (which is a horrendous lie) from apps, perhaps you should be concerned with product quality and reasonable pricing. We're not iPhone users, who are automatically going to buy third rate products for 20 bucks a pop from the app store because we dont have any other choice.

  29. AndroidTapp.com
    November 20, 19:00 Reply

    Not good… not good… not good… but I can see their rationale in the decision. If most/all major gaming developers pull out due to dismal sales, this could be a devastating blown to the platform. I'm writing an article that points at Internal Memory, Battery Life and Poor Application sales attribute decisions like this.

    • StevieB
      November 20, 21:40 Reply

      I'm with you. I think those saying good ridence are realy missing the point here. This is a major Game House that makes some truely awesome games. Other big companies may follow suit I'm afraid. Also the reason GameLoft games have been so bad on Android is becasue no handsets could handle 3D graphics processing before the droid. Fire up any of their games on an ipod touch and you'll see they are as good as Wii or Nintendo gaming systems.

      Click over to read the entire article. They say iPhone generated 13 percent of Gameloft's revenue in the last quarter. THAT AIN'T NO JOKE PEOPLE. This is a problem…and I hope not a trend.

  30. maennj
    November 20, 19:08 Reply

    Windows PCs vs Apple Macs all over again. Gameloft are really stupid, 10 years later they will realize that most manufacturers ship phones with android. Apple are stupid enough to repeat their past mistakes

  31. chris
    November 20, 19:16 Reply

    i have 2 gameloft games and they are fun… however i have tried a few others and they suck. when the quality goes up i will get more. but developer doesent matter to me, just fun games.

  32. Ali
    November 20, 19:29 Reply

    seems to me that the problem here is that on the android market you can actually get your money back after a bad purchase.

  33. newspeak
    November 20, 14:39 Reply

    no great loss here but i will say that if google doesn’t change something soon (like opening up more countries to paid apps) they are going to start losing traction…i wish there was more games i would be willing to pay for…it doesn’t take much the game puzzle blox is so addictive that i will gladly pay for it we just need more quality games

  34. Charles
    November 20, 21:18 Reply

    Problems with Android compared to Apple:
    1. Android fragmentation – yes it’s real. Developers need to support the least common denominator to cast the widest net and assure wide adoption of app.
    2. Distribution method sucks. Google needs to make a desktop program similar to iTunes like as soon as yesterday!!
    3. Google put too much control in the carrier’s and manufacturer’s hands from the beginning. Google should have maintained control of the update process. Because we all know that carriers don’t know what the hell they are doing right!
    4. All the Android device marketing I’ve seen is a joke compared to Apple’s which aims at mass market. For crying out loud Verizon is targeting geeks with their advertising with asteroids, robots, and stealth bombers. Show some apps running on that beautiful screen. Again carriers don’t get it.

    I think Google realizes alot of this – thus the reason we’re hearing rumors of a Google phone. They know Android is splintering like crazy and now they have to undo that.

    Another thing, we all bust on Apple for having so many fart apps yet did you see the recent T-Mobile ad showing the top 15 PAID apps on Android. 4 of them were task killers. Why isn’t this part of Android from the rip. Normal non-tech users should not be told “download an app to get speed back”. Google is really making themselves out to be the geeks device. I don’t see mass market adoption happening any time soon. The web is rampant with stories of people taking Droids back in droves due to failing proximity sensors, random reboots, quick-scroll issues, crashes, no bluetooth dialing?!?!

    Google rushed Android 2.0 or Motorola didn’t do enough QA testing. Either way it’s a major black eye on Android/Google/Verizon with them touting Droid as the “ultimate smartphone”.

  35. Sammy
    November 20, 21:29 Reply

    I think lots of folks are missing the point. If you ever saw some of GameLoft’s games on iphone/ipod touch you wouldn’t be saying their games are crap. They are some of the best 3D games on the mobile market. The reason they were crap on Android was because no handset had the processor to handle the graphics. With the Droid, alot of people were hoping that it would also become a gaming handset due to having the same graphics processing power as the iPhone. What this article says is they aren’t going to invest in making iPhone type/quality games for Android. Which is sad for our beloved OS…and it will also hurt others from adopting the platform.

    To those that said "beat it" to them and smaller developers will fill the void. Look at other gaming platforms…it doesn't work like that. These larger development houses have entire teams working on top notch games with experts in programing, 3D graphics, textures, etc. I fear it's all due to Android's fragmentation. Yes…it is real problem.

  36. Skully
    November 20, 21:31 Reply

    all game developers port to other platforms. I'm not understanding those folks saying good riddance. This isn't a good thing for the Android platform folks.

  37. Sixfit
    November 20, 21:34 Reply

    @Brad "How come I can buy a thumb drive with gobs of storage for like $20 and they can't put more than a paltry pitiful 100-200 MB space in these phones?!"

    Amen Brother. You hit the nail on the head. Memory is dirt cheap these days. Manufacturers need to standardize at least 16GB on board memory. Some Gameloft 3D games on iPhone/iPod Touch are like 170MB a piece – at least the real cutting edge ones anyway.

  38. schwiz
    November 20, 22:53 Reply

    they will be kicking themselves in 2 years when android has 30% of the market. Oh well more room for hobbiest devs like myself. Maybe they will hire me in 2 years when they see the need.

  39. droidin
    November 21, 03:11 Reply

    Let them pull all they want, there will be 100 waiting to get in their place

  40. carig
    November 21, 04:09 Reply

    google needs to listen to its developers, whether they make good apps or not

    it seems like google has an "if we build it, they will come" philosophy about android apps and they're getting a little too cocky about their decisions, developers are a very valuable resource in the smartphone wars but they're also a fickle and fussy bunch and you need to pander to them and show them you're listening if you want them to keep supporting your platform

    it sounds like the app market could use some improvements, if gameloft trying to make a big scene is what it takes to get google to make changes for the better then i guess that's a good thing right?

  41. kyith
    November 21, 05:36 Reply

    well i use the ipod touch and the thing that draws me to it is really the software base. can't say the same about the android right now. Without good apps on it (not games) that helps productivity in a big way, its difficult to make folks go for this phone other than geeks.

    sometimes u need monetary incentive for quality people to produce software on this platform and to provide good support.

  42. Todd A
    November 21, 06:15 Reply

    1. Google needs a state of the art app store that focuses more attention on paid apps. To neglect paid apps will doom all of the work they have invested so far.
    2. People need to understand the shrinking difference in market penetration between Android and iPhone OS's. Android is poised to kick butt this Christmas season.
    3. Software houses need to understand that games that are re-treads from other platforms, which ignore the unique strengths of Android, will do poorly.
    4. And, finally, users need to band together. Talk among yourselves about the best / worst apps. Hold yourselves out as Android experts and help Android newbies.

    Android is about to reach critical mass, and these suggestions will help it deliver on the potential we've been watching for over a year now.

  43. @m0fe
    November 21, 13:24 Reply

    I don't impulse by like many Android owners and when i do buy it is usually an app not a game. Very poor games anyway, Me and my G1 will stick to SNesoid thanks but they will be back

  44. TareX
    November 21, 15:23 Reply

    The only decent mobile gameloft game I played was "Robo". No wait, that was from Herocraft.

    Yeah Gameloft doesn't make decent games to begin with, but their statement does reflect about the sad status of the cost effectiveness of Android development.

  45. TareX
    November 21, 15:25 Reply

    The only games I'd play on Android are SNES, GBA and MAME games. Which is why all I care about is a big screen, a physical keyboard, and decent processing power (which could be just enough to run PSX games)

  46. Thomas520
    November 21, 17:33 Reply

    Well see yeah….. If they haven't noticed, the economy is down, put want more bang for their buck, and the old days of, "wow i can get a game on my phone and you can't" days are over. There are tons of apps, and plenty for free that have done a good job to entertain us. If they had games for say $1, you would sell a lot more then trying to rape a few for $7.99. I don't care how good a game is, price will always deter the consumer. Gameloft, like many others fail to realize that reputation alone only will get you so far.

  47. ari-free
    November 22, 05:12 Reply

    I know my computer history and I remember the days when Amiga and Atari ST had all the cool games and the PC was stuck with crappy ports and CGA graphics. Fast forward to today; all the cool games are for the PC, not Mac and Amiga/Atari vanished from the face of the earth.
    And the PC has much much more fragmentation than Android. I remember the days of figuring out .bat and .sys files just to get games to work on a PC. The PC also seems to be quite successful despite the lack of an app store.
    Closed platforms don't work in the long run.

  48. Name
    November 24, 19:25 Reply

    The biggest issue ith not making revenue on android is that half the customer base cant frekkin buy apps. Once they fix that, revenue is probably gonna jump.
    >.< /kicks google

    • Alex Danvy
      November 25, 11:17 Reply

      I agree. Each time I buy an application on the Android Market, my bank charges me 2 EUR for each transaction. This doubles the price of most apps.

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