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The two titans of the mobile platform space, iOS and Android, often find themselves in the crosshairs of comparative debates. This can be particularly true when it comes to mobile gaming.
Android is often seen as more geared towards technically-minded users, while Apple’s ecosystem is never what comes to a gamer’s mind first. But is that all there is to it? Is Android the winner?
Both mobile platforms have their merits, sometimes in very surprising aspects.
Mobile game development starts on iOS
It’s no secret that Android holds the lion’s share of the mobile market. Despite the platform having far more users, its Apple-branded rival is the first port of call for mobile game developers. Because of the fragmented nature of the Android ecosystem, many mobile titles are typically built for iOS first.
This means for mobile gamers on iPhones and iPads that their apps are coded and optimized to run on their hardware. This leads to better user experiences. It also means that iOS users often get access to certain games first, while Android device owners have to wait a few months.
There are even cases when certain games don’t see the light of day on the Google-developed platform, but that is typically for Apple Arcade titles.
Apple Arcade is a monthly subscription service that lets people pay approximately $5 a month for access to hundreds of mobile games.
iOS devices are better optimized
Say what you will about Apple and their aftermarket practices, they make incredibly high-quality hardware.
Everything about iOS devices, from design to user experience, is built with purpose down to the most minute detail. It stands to reason that they’re, bar none, the most optimized devices on the market.
This includes battery life, with Apple’s new internal chips leaving the most high-end Android CPUs in the dust, in terms of energy efficiency.
As a gamer, you’re likely familiar with mobile games being energy hogs. Currently, the iPhone is the most battery-efficient smartphone on the market.
For instance, the iPhone 13 Pro Max outlasts the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra by a wide margin.
One caveat here is that certain, gaming-first smartphones can compete with the iPhone, but how many people are actually buying gaming smartphones in 2022?
Android offers more flexibility
It’s not all gloom and doom in Android land, though. Google’s platform has one key advantage in its arsenal: flexibility. As Android is primarily an operating system that is used by manufacturers to power their devices, it means you’ve got a lot of choices.
For starters, iOS phones and tablets aren’t exactly cheap. If you’re looking to game on a shoestring budget, you’ll be strapped for options.
There’s a myriad of accessibly priced mid-range Android phones on the market, however, some of which boast the latest-gen internals.
Furthermore, Android has a leg-up in the cloud gaming department. Services like Stadia (RIP) and Xbox Game Pass have natively built apps that allow you to play console and PC titles via streaming.
On iOS, you’ll have to do a bit more work to get these services to work, as you’ll need to access them through your browser.
Finally, by virtue of its open-source nature, Android allows users to access games that may be region-locked. Thanks to third-party app downloaders and installers, it’s easy to get in on the action.
Gacha gaming thrives on Android
If you’re a fan of gacha games, you’ll want to be on an Android device. Apple’s devices typically get most mainstream titles, but Android has a far larger selection on offer.
Typically, gacha games are relatively easy to develop. And they require less optimization to get right, so building them on Android exclusively poses no issues.
As Android also dominates markets where gacha gaming is big, developers try to bring to them as many titles as possible.
Android gamers — due to the reasons outlined above — are going to have a greater number of options. As an added bonus, options like TapTap exist and allow Android gamers even more options.
Which is the best platform for mobile gaming?
Both iOS and Android have their merits when it comes to mobile gaming. It all depends on what is more important for you. If you want a hassle-free experience and only play popular games, iOS is fine.
Android, on the other hand, offers a more robust selection of games. As well as plenty of devices to choose from. You really can’t go wrong with either option. But hopefully, we’ve helped explain the differences between the two platforms.