Mobile Gaming: An Indie Developer’s Paradise

When we discussed casual gaming in class, the discussion gravitated heavily toward the smart phone as a popular platform for playing casual games. As the smart phone market exploded with the introduction of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android and the introduction of the app markets, the number of games available in the “games” category of the app markets skyrocketed. These games range from simple versions of Brick Breaker to wildly popular games like Angry Birds. So what led to this casual game explosion in the smart phone app market?

The answer, according to, are Apple’s and Google’s extremely developer-friendly policies. Apple and Google have designed their app markets to be extremely accessible to developers seeking to design, build, and market their games. In fact, both Google and Apple have made the tools needed to design and build games easily accessible to developers. These policies, combined with the accessibility and name-recognition that comes from affiliation with the Apple and Google app markets, has led to a huge increase in the number of independent game developers being able to market their products. According to data published on, indie game developers comprised 68 percent of game developers in the iOS and Android game markets in first quarter 2012. Interestingly enough, indie developers have not had such an easy time with platform development, which is dominated by big entertainment firms and extremely advanced technology that is not cheap. In short, you couldn’t design an Xbox 360 game from your home and compete with companies like Activision and Electronic Arts.

So, what does this indie success mean? Will this mean larger independent control over the casual smart phone gaming market and more competition? Or, will we see a consolidation of the most popular developers and the eventual monopoly over the smart phone gaming market by a select few? As of now, it doesn’t seem very clear, but it looks like Google’s and Apple’s egalitarian approach is empowering normal, independent developers to make exciting new games that are changing the way we view casual mobile games. Let’s hope it stays that way!

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