Gaming: iOS and Android both stink

Is iOS better than Android for gaming? Or do both mobile operating systems leave something to be desired for gamers?

nintendo 3ds xl
Nintendo.com

iOS and Android have long battled each other for mobile supremacy, and that includes gaming. But which one is better? A writer at MakeUseOf believes that iOS is the superior gaming platform and he shared why in a recent post.

Dan Price reports for MakeUseOf:

But which operating system is best for mobile gaming? The industry is huge, especially among casual gamers. Estimates suggest almost one billion people played a game on their smartphone at least once in 2016.

If you’re one of those billion people, in my opinion, you should be using an Apple device.

  1. The “iOS First” Approach

  2. Development Is Easier on iOS

  3. Consistent User Experience

  4. Fake Games

  5. Frames Per Second

More at MakeUseOf

Dan raises some very good points in his article, iOS does have some important advantages over Android for gamers. But I doubt that they would be enough to sway folks who are just casual gamers to dump their Android devices and switch to the iPhone or iPad.

iOS and Android both stink for gaming

In my case, as I'll share with you below, Dan's arguments still aren't enough to make me bother much with iOS gaming. My reluctance has nothing to do with the eternal battle between iOS and Android, both platforms are flawed in ways that make me want to choose "none of the above."

One can argue about whether iOS is better than Android for gaming in this or that respect, but the bottom line for me is that neither mobile operating system provides a particularly good gaming experience. Your mileage may vary, of course, but read on to find out why I feel this way. Much of what I say below about iOS can also be applied to Android, the two platforms are quite similar in some respects.

Freemium trash games clog up the iOS App Store

Over the years the gaming experience on iOS has gotten worse and worse. Now that might sound like heresy coming from somebody who writes about Apple, but hear me out as there are reasons why I generally don’t bother playing games on iOS.

The first thing that threw me off gaming on iOS was all of the freemium junk games on the iOS App Store. I found wading through that trash to be a huge headache, with very little payoff in terms of fun. The iOS App Store is awash in junky, low quality games.

One of the things I really hate about freemium games is how they nickel and dime you for everything. I’d rather pay a flat fee for the game and then be able to play it without having to cough up money constantly for in-app purchases.

There are some games like Super Mario Run that let you buy the entire game with one purchase, but they seem to be few and far between these days. And Nintendo was criticized quite harshly for daring to charge the "outrageous" price of $9.99 for Super Mario Run. That sort of reaction from some users is why freemium trash rules the iOS App Store these days, developers are afraid to charge a reasonable flat fee for games.

On-screen game controls and third party controllers

I also found that I disliked using my iPhone or iPad’s on-screen controls to play games. Tapping on a screen to move a character around just doesn't feel particularly intuitive to me. There are a few games where it can work relatively well, but for the most part it leaves me cold as a gamer.

Oh sure I could get a third party controller and I tried a few of them for my iPad and iPhone. Sometimes it worked for a game and other times it didn’t. The lack of support for external controllers in some games was quite irritating and frustrating.

Eventually I just gave up on using a controller, it wasn’t worth the bother.

Get a Nintendo 3DS for mobile gaming

These days I prefer to play games on my Nintendo 3DS XL. It’s just a bit bigger and chunkier than my iPhone 6s Plus, so I can easily carry it around with me. Both devices fit into my pants pocket, along with the rest of the stuff I carry.

The Nintendo 3DS lets me play all of Nintendo’s amazing library of games including all of the Mario and Zelda games. Those games are really the cream of the crop compared to the stuff in the iOS App Store or the Google Play Store. The quality of the gameplay is much better than a lot of the games available for iOS and Android.

My 3DS also has physical controls built into it, so I don’t have to try to control games by just tapping on the screen like I do with my iPad or iPhone. The 3DS also has built-in 3D which I find to be quite enjoyable, it adds another wrinkle to the overall gaming experience.

Now you might wonder why I mention the 3DS instead of Nintendo’s new Switch. At the moment I don’t own the Switch. I’ve read about it and it looks interesting but I prefer to wait when it comes to brand new videogame platforms, and let developers create a large amount of games before I consider buying the system. So I’ll eventually consider getting a Nintendo Switch after it matures as a gaming platform.

For me the best mobile gaming around is still on the 3DS, not Android or iOS.

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