Indie Haven July Developer Roundtable – Will Android Consoles be Sustainable? Laura Kate July 11, 2013 Features We at Indie Haven like to get you as close as possible to the games you love and the people making them. That’s why every month we aim to bring together a wide selection of of Indie Developers from all walks of life, from BAFTA winners to teenage and student devs, to discuss the hottest issues affecting games, development, coverage and the Indie community. These chats will be broken up into chunks and released across the month, before we start all over again with new developers and new questions. This month we welcome a brand new group of developers to the Roundtable. We’ve got Tom Vian (Developer at SFB, creators of Haunt the House: Terrortown), Alan Zucconi (Creator of time travel puzzle game Still Time), Ashley Ross (lead developer at OmNomCom and creator of the upcoming game Girl With a Laser Cannon), Jennifer Schneidereit (co-founder of Nyamyam, creators of Tengami) and Andrew Roper (Recent University graduate working on the game Lazarus). Owen Harris (Studio Head at bitSmith games) also joins us toward the end of the Roundtable. If you’re an Indie Dev of any size that would like to take part in a future roundtable, please email Laurak@IndieHaven.com and let us know a little about yourself. The more the merrier. “Will Android consoles like the Gamestick or Ouya ultimately be able to survive?” Ashley Ross: They won’t gain the traction of a AAA console, but I think this may be the start of an “indie console” market. Tom Vian: Hmmm, my answer is that I hope so, but I’m not sure if they will or not “Are any of you planning to support one of these consoles? Why/ Why not?” Andrew Roper: Ach, I’ve got to run off. But I’ll throw my 2 cents in quickly. I hope they do, they definitely have the portability and (surprisingly) the power. I dev’d for the gamestick during EToo and it’s really good, took me by surprise. They’ll survive to a degree but won’t be able to beat the big-3 Ashley Ross: I’ll probably be releasing on as many Android based consoles as I can, because my current, and upcoming game are both Android based, and both work with Touchscreen or controller. If the cost of porting to them is less than what I’d get back, I’m more than happy to support Tom Vian: We definitely are! Haunt the House will be out on GameStick, hopefully at launch. I love the idea of getting the game in HD into so many people’s hands so easily Alan Zucconi: At the moment I am trying to bring Still Time to PSVita and PC. But since it is just me on the development, I rather focus my efforts on more popular platforms for now. This might change in the future though… who knows! Tom Vian: Plus the GameStick guys have been super friendly Jennifer Schneidereit: I hope they will make it. If they manage to get into the mainstream retail channels, Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda etc then I think they have a short at carving out their niche. Jennifer Schneidereit: As a developer I am not a big fan of Android, so I will be holding off on developing for the consoles. Laura Kate: My fear, and I don’t know if any of you feel the same, is that the quick update cycle in the android phone market at the moment is ultimately going to be an issue. it’s not going to take too long for the current models to become much less impressive than they were at launch. Jennifer Schneidereit: GameStick looked really cool though and lke Tom said they were super friendly guys. Hope it will go well for them. Tom Vian: I’ve never really touched Java for development, but I’ve got Flash/AIR up and running, so development is nice and easy “Do you think the marinstrem retail market, or mainstream consumer for that matter really know about these systems?” Ashley Ross: Hardware is a big issue with these consoles. Most, like the Ouya and Gamestick, are basically as powerful as a mid-range phone. Not great for a console experience Alan Zucconi: I personally don’t like having all these different consoles around. I hope the future will lead games toward an unification of consoles, rather than a division. This consoles war is more about bringing money to big companies, rather than providing a better experience to players. Ashley Ross: No, the mainstream market doesn’t know about these consoles, the companies behind them don’t really have the capability to market as much as they need Jennifer Schneidereit: At the moment the mainstream consumer does not know about the Android consoles and this is why I think they need to make the push into mainstream retail. To make a financially viable console you need to engage an audience beyond the core. “Also, as someone who’s never developed for Android, is the splintered hardware market a big issue?” Tom Vian: Not really, for games, especially with tools like AIR and Unity Jennifer Schneidereit: We use our own engine/tech and in that regard the hardware fragmentation is a big worry for us. It is just not feasible to test the game on all the devices. Ashley Ross: The different hardware isn’t an issue, just make sure it runs on the minimum you want to support. The main issue is the various screen resolutions and DPIs. And supporting them all. Alan Zucconi: It would be amazing to develop a game once and then being able to release it to all the available platforms. It is a little bit the dream of Unity, but is still far from being completely realised. Android markets are -as you said- splintered. This fragmentation is not helping developers. Tom Vian: I think tha’s totally possible with the right kind of game And with that we end another segment of Indie Dev Roundtable here at Indie Haven. Next time we Discuss The biggest mistakes Indie Developers make. What do you think? Did you back Ouya on Kickstarter? Will you be buying a Gamestick? Have you developed for either? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @Indie_Haven.