During my time at Mobile World Congress, I took the time to seat and talk with few companies involved with Android. To kick things off, I spoke with members of Astraware and am only happy to share my takeaway with you.
Astraware, a UK-based games studio, started over 10 years ago developing games for the Palm (over 70 titles). One of their biggest hits on Palm was the multi-award-winning Astraware Sudoku which is now also doing well for Android. Other platforms under development are Windows Mobile, Blackberry, and iPhone. As with most Android developers, this is an early stage for them as they have only 5 games today. However they already have 2 more are in development (see below) with more to come. They’ll continue their push with Android as they view it an easier market than other platforms, more games oriented than Blackberry, and less competitive and crowded than iPhone.
Astraware and Handmark
Although Handmark and Astraware formed a business relationship in January 2008, they act as 2 separate companies, working closely but as partners.
Astraware has a team of 6 developers working on the different platforms they support. They also have 3 artists, one producer and a QA team. The marketing team is involved during the development, just before release, to make sure the games are conformed to the restrictions of each markets. With Android, this part is easy being that there is not that much to comply with.
Availability of games
The games are available through Handmark market, Android market but also online from their web site, about 85% of the games are downloaded from the Android market. The released of the Motorola Droid helped at the end of 2009 to bring the numbers up by making up 60% of these 85%. Also, they acknowledge that the new version of Market app from 1.6, with the screen captures, helped as it is easier for users to see good games.
They also found that, contrary to latest Admob figures, a good part (almost half) of their customers are female.
New games coming?
Odd Blob is a strategy game with very nice graphics. The aim is to go from the bottom of the screen to the top by moving on tiles, some of these tiles will have actions that would help or hinder your progress. It will be released in Q2 for all versions of Android and all resolutions. This should look great on high resolution devices like the Droid and Nexus One.
Police Range, this is an action game, already available on iPhone. You are at a shooting practice range or in an alley and need to shoot at the bad guys but not at civilians. This game is still in development but watch this space for the review when it will be released (or soon to be released).