PopCap is a leader in casual games and they’ve been the subject of lots of inquiries after deciding to bring Bejewled to Windows Phone while not having their games ported to Android. Well, first for some Android news: Plants v Zombies and Peggle are headed to Android in early 2010. Why the delay? Why not before Windows Phone? Well, in an interview with Pocket Gamer they went through their thoughts.
Regardless of how much attention a new device gets, we won’t consciously put a game out knowing it’s not as good as it can be. We don’t aspire to be trendy; sometimes we’re not first to a particular platform but we do value being the most polished – and ensuring we give the same love and attention to a new platform adaptation of one of our games as we would an entirely new game.
There are a number of challenges to developing for Android. You mentioned fragmentation as a possible challenge in a previous news item?
For PopCap, this is certainly a challenge given the quality bar we set for ourselves – and which players of our games have now come to expect.
But, to your other point, the delay does not reflect skepticism about the Android market.
PopCap makes it clear that their focus is social gaming and they don’t really have an interest in who is the top selling OS at this point. They want to make games that are socially connected, available to all and top notch. So why did they jump on Windows Phone so quickly?
We made the immediate decision to port to WP7 because we believed Microsoft did a good job with the new OS. It offered a viable smartphone OS alternative to the iPhone with a compelling user experience around game discovery and connected gameplay experience with the inclusion of Xbox LIVE.
On top of that, development and testing is simpler on WP7 as it does not have a fragmented device base like Android.
As Android has a bigger device range, we are taking a little longer to bring the best game experience to the maximum number of Android devices when we launch.
It’s interesting to see a group of this size speaking about these issues and I think it gives a glimpse into the mindset of other game developers. With all of this said, I also think they’re right in noting that the mobile industry is “more a marathon than a sprint”. So Google is listening and if they’ve learned any lessons from the current status of their devices it has to be the need to make it easier on devs to write once and not worry about fragmentation while cleaning up the market a bit to make it friendlier on all. If they don’t then Microsoft (who actually gets this for once and is well positioned here) and iPhone will have a stronghold on games that will just widen over time.